T-Bolts rally past Rascals
A simple motto has developed around the Windy City ThunderBolts’ clubhouse in recent weeks: the T-Bolts, they say, are “sneaky.”
With another come-from-behind win Saturday night for their 10th victory in 11 days, the T-Bolts continued to sneak their way into the Frontier League playoff race.
Kyle Robinson’s two-run home run — his second homer in as many nights — in the eighth inning capped a comeback from a 5-1 deficit as the T-Bolts topped the River City Rascals 6-5 in front of a season-high 3,318 fans at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“We’re resilient,” Robinson said. “That’s all it is. We know we’re still out of the playoffs, but we’re taking it one game at a time and we’re going to make a run at it.”
The T-Bolts (40-40) reached the .500 mark for the first time this season. They gained another game on Gateway to pull within five games of the final playoff spot with 16 games to go.
For the second straight night, Robinson got an inside fastball and drilled it over the left-field wall. With one on and one out with Windy City trailing 5-4 in the eighth, he hammered a 0-1 pitch from Nick Kennedy (3-3) for his third long ball of the year.
“I knew he was going to come inside,” Robinson said. “With his arm slot, he likes to come in to right-handed hitters. I just tried to drive it and it made it out.”
That made a winner out of Colin O’Connell (3-0), who tossed two innings without allowing a hit.
Michael Click worked the ninth for his 19th save.
River City (38-41) scored five runs in six innings off T-Bolts starter Daniel Cropper and led 5-1 in the fourth.
Andrew Brauer (3-for-4, 3 RBI) ignited the Windy City rally with an RBI double in the fourth and a two-run single in the sixth.
“It’s just the attitude of our team right now,” he said. “We knew we were in a hole and we’re still chasing some games but we’re trying not to do too much. We’re taking it one game at a time. We were down 5-1, but we never felt out of the game.”
The first two River City hitters of the game scored to put Windy City in a quick hole.
The T-Bolts got a run back in the second when Brauer singled, moved to third on an error and scored on Jayce Ray’s groundout.
River City, though, scored three times in the fourth, a disaster inning for Cropper, who issued a walk, hit a batter, was called for a balk and had an error on a pickoff attempt.
As it turns out, Windy City was far from done.
“You start winning, and it’s an attitude you develop,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “No matter the score and situation, you think you’re going to win.”
The T-Bolts will send Brian Oliver to the mound Sunday in search of the sweep.