Baseball: ThunderBolts bow to Slammers
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 6, 2012 11:40PM
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:50PM
In a bizarre game Wednesday night between Frontier League rivals that featured plenty of twists and turns, the Joliet Slammers struck the final blow against the Windy City ThunderBolts.
David Fox’s two-run single in the top of the ninth lifted Joliet to a 5-3 win in front of 3,406 fans at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Abel Nieves and Hector Pellot each singled and Zach Mandelblatt was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs for Fox, who put Joliet in front with a line drive to right-center off Matt Costello.
Daniel Carela (2-0) earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief. Amalio Diaz pitched the ninth for his fifth save as Joliet improved to 10-7.
With the T-Bolts (10-5) down 3-2 in the sixth, right fielder Bryan Burke kept the deficit small, robbing Brad Netzel of an RBI hit with a diving catch.
Burke then came to the plate in the bottom of the frame with a runner on second and delivered again, doubling down the right-field line to score Brandon Decker (single) and tie the game.
Joliet had taken the lead on a controversial play in the fifth. Down 2-1, the Slammers had runners at second and third with no outs after a Ben Hewett walk and a Nieves double.
Pellot then hit a flyball that Decker attempted to make a remarkable catch on, scaling the wall in foul territory in the left-field corner.
Decker lost the ball, but while the T-Bolts thought the play was over, both Slammers runners tagged up and came home.
After a lengthy discussion, the umpires ruled that Decker had caught it then lost it, allowing both runs to score and prompting an argument from the entire Windy City infield as well as manager Morgan Burkhart.
Pellot was credited with a two-run sacrifice fly.
Joliet starter Steven Maxwell hit three batters in the first two innings and paid for it in the second when Decker, who had been plunked, scored on Brandon Pearl’s fielder’s choice.
The Slammers drew even in the third on a home run by Richards product Erik Lis before Windy City went up 2-1 on Decker’s RBI single in the bottom of the frame.
T-Bolts starter Mike Recchia, who entered with a 3-0 record and a 0.44 ERA, allowed three earned runs in 52/3 innings. Maxwell went six frames, also allowing three earned runs.