Baseball: Slammers fall short to ThunderBolts
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 3, 2013 10:46PM
Ryan Soares rips an RBI double for the Windy CIty Thunderbolts against the Joliet Slammers. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 5, 2013 6:52AM
The two August series between the Windy City ThunderBolts and the Joliet Slammers won’t be what Windy City manager Ron Biga had expected or what Joliet skipper Mike Breyman had hoped for in his first season.
The ThunderBolts were a playoff contender much of last season, finished 54-42 and couldn’t wait for 2013. The Slammers had a revamped pitching staff this year with experience in affiliated baseball.
But instead of playing Saturday night with their eyes on the Frontier League playoffs, the teams opened their first of two matchups this month looking to push toward .500 in the final weeks.
Evan Button’s RBI single in the eighth inning, his second run-scoring hit in the game, broke a 3-3 tie and Windy City added two runs in the ninth to take a 6-3 victory at Silver Cross Field.
“I found a couple holes,’’ Button said. “One was a broken bat, the other was off the end of the bat. But I’ll take every hit. We were tied at 3, we all thought the next team to score would win the game.’’
Button was acquired in June after he was released by the Rockford Aviators.
“Evan has been a great pickup for us,’’ Biga said. “Just a change of scenery. He’s played first, he’s played right, he’s played left. He’s done a great job.’’
Button didn’t do it alone on Saturday. Other key contributors to the 14-hit attack were Ryan Soares (3-for-5, 2 RBI), Jayce Ray (3-for-3, run) and Zach Aukus (2-for-4, run, RBI).
Windy City rookie Jessie Snodgrass (1 inning, 2 hits) got his first professional victory in relief of Travis Tingle (6 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs).
Slammers starter Andrew Busby (5 innings, 9 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts) was followed by Chase Doremus (4-4), who allowed just one hit and one run over 22/3 innings in taking the loss.
The Slammers tied it 3-all in the fifth on an RBI double by Marquis Riley. Newcomer Darian Sandford, who played for the Washington Wild Things this season, had singled to start the inning.
Windy City (30-37) scored twice in the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Five of the first six batters reached base, including RBI singles by Button and Soares.
Windy City went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first on a double by Soares that scored Michael Torres (base hit).
The Slammers (28-39) responded with runs in the first and third innings. Kyle Maunus delivered a two-out base hit to drive in Riley (double) in the first. Niko Vasquez singled on a successful hit-and-run and Nick Akins had an RBI groundout.
The second game of the series at 2:05 p.m. Sunday matches Windy City ace Dyllon Nuernberg (6-1, 2.38 ERA) against Joliet’s Shawn Kale (4-2, 4.26 ERA), the team’s strikeout leader.