Hertler come through in clutch to send Crushers to victory
It took an extra inning, but Lake Erie got a tremendous effort by outfielder Craig Hertler to get a win against the Joliet Slammers 4-3 on Saturday night.
A pair of late walks by the Slammers' Brett Zawacki was all that Hertler needed to get a late one run lead. With Max Casper and Juan Sanchez on with two outs, Hertler found a hole in the defense that allowed Casper to utilize his speed to get the eventual game winning run across.
In the next half inning, closer Dale Dickerson got the job done with a perfect inning on two strikeouts.
The game winning RBI was the icing on the cake for Hertler with the actual cake being made from his first home run as a member of the Crushers to lead off the top of the fourth. Hertler got the ball rolling on a big inning for the Crushers in the fourth as Russell Moldenhauer suppled some clutch hitting with a two out RBI single that scored Daniel Bowman and Andrew Davis.
Matt Smith gave the Crushers a fighting chance with his 5.1 innings of work and allowing just three runs while Mickey Jannis worked long relief of 3.2 innings and blanking the Slammers.
Saturday's win puts the Crushers now 10 games above .500 at 41-31. With most of the team's success coming since the all star break, the Crushers are 15-6 since midseason as the team appears to be clicking on all cylinders.
Collecting the win, the Crushers now stand alone in second place behind Traverse City at 2.5 games back. Setting up for what could be a pivotal series, Lake Erie will place the Beach Bums just one more time this year as the final three games of the regular season.