Crushes walk off to a walk in 3-2 win
There’s a children’s rhyme appropriate for what happened to the Crushers this week.
Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day.
It will come again, as rain always does, but the Frontier Greys are going to have to come back too, as the third game of the Crushers series against the Frontier League’s nomads has been rescheduled for July 12th.
Meanwhile, the second game of the series was completed on Thursday evening, after being suspended due to rain with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday night. The Crushers were trailing 2-1 when the game was called on Wednesday, but came back to win a bizarre, 10-inning affair 3-2 on a walk-off walk from Kevin Berard. Mickey Jannis earned the win for the Crushers, pitching all five innings in Thursday’s portion of the contest. He held the Greys scoreless on just two hits, striking out five and improving to 3-0 on the season.
“Fortunately, we got that one to be a suspended game,” Isom said. “Last night I was all worried. I saw the rain coming in and was like, what are we gonna do here? How do we prolong this a little bit?”
Isom found the solution by pinch hitting right-handed hitter Kevin Berard for lefty Seth Granger, causing Greys manager Brent Matheny to make a move for righty reliever Jon Shepard to replace his southpaw relief pitcher Alfonso Cardenas. The moves extended the game just long enough to be called before it became official.
Jannis entered the sixth inning of a 2-2 tie, but the game didn’t feel like a typical relief outing.
“I was just trying to take it as a start,” he said. “I just knew I needed to come in ready to pitch.”
The game was tied thanks to Anderson Hidalgo, who came through right away for the Crushers with a clutch, two-out, RBI single, even though the at bat must have felt more like he was leading off a game.
“I can’t imagine coming into that situation,” Jannis said about Hidalgo’s lead off at bat in which he was already down 0-1. “You haven’t seen a pitch all day, and the guy throws a first pitch curveball. It’s kind of tough, I would assume.”
Neither team would score again until the bottom of the tenth, when Berard drew the game winning walk that brought home Andrew Davis from third.
The walk was allowed by Greys’ pitcher Kyle Brady, who wound up with the loss after pitching two and two-thirds innings. He allowed three hits, three walks, and struck out two batters, as he fell to 1-2 overall.
“Berard put a pretty good at bat together with the bases loaded to get the win,” Isom said. “But I kept looking at it like, man, we’ve got all these opportunities with Mickey Jannis on the mound. The longer he’s out there the more days rest it’s gonna have to be.”
Jannis feels perfectly comfortable with the number of pitches he threw, 69, and kept telling his manager he was good to go after Isom would ask him in between every inning.
“I don’t know how long I could have gone,” he said. “He kept asking me if how I felt, and I definitely wanted the ball in that situation. I definitely wanted to give us a chance to win.”
Isom can’t be blamed for worrying about his reliever, as Jannis is the guy who has stabilized the bullpen since his return to the team.
“Mickey Jannis, he was the key to that game right there. He’s throwing the ball extremely well for us. Truthfully, I wish we had him since the start of the season,” Isom said. “Thank goodness we got Mickey.”
Andrew Davis drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday night, with a solo home run, his ninth of the season. Davis jumped on a first pitch fastball, and drove the ball approximately 341 feet, just passed the fence located 340 feet away.
The Greys would tie the game in the top of the second on an RBI single from Brock McCallister. They took the lead in the top of the fifth on another RBI single, this time from Justin McDonald.
Both Greys’ runs came off Crushers starter Matt Rein, who was on his way to a quality start before the rain delay chased him out of the game. Rein finished with a line of five innings pitched, giving up two runs on three hits, walking three and striking out two.
“He was gonna run out there again [in the sixth inning] and keep going. He was throwing the ball very well,” Isom said.
The rain out means the starting rotation for the Crushers has now been pushed back a day. Alex Kaminsky, who was scheduled to start game three of the series Thursday night, will be on the mound for the opening game of the road trip in Traverse City. It will be the second time the Crushers face the Beach Bums this season. Both series were in Traverse City.
The hope for the Crushers is that this will finally be the road trip where they can put everything together and go on an extended winning streak.
“You guys can see that, too?” Isom asked in response to being asked if his team was close to piecing every bit together. “[We’ve won] seven out of nine, but I don’t feel like we’re playing as great as what we can. There’s just something missing. We’re close, and I think the guys sense that, too.”
Everyone can sense it, and a three-game series against the division leader would be the perfect time for everyone to finally see it.