Baseball: Gateway Grizzlies blank ThunderBolts 1-0
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media August 23, 2012 11:08PM
A Windy City ThunderBolts offense that’s been inconsistent all season picked the most inopportune time to go into its biggest rut of the year.
The Gateway Grizzlies completed a gigantic three-game sweep with a 1-0 win Thursday night in front of 2,152 fans at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
With nine games left, the T-Bolts (49-38) fell two games behind first-place Gateway (51-36) in the Frontier League West and one behind Lake Erie for the final wild card.
Three Grizzlies pitchers combined to hold Windy City, which had just one hit Wednesday, to three hits as the T-Bolts were swept for the first time this season.
Grizzlies starter Alex Kaminsky (10-4) allowed three hits in 61/3 innings.
“We need to find that momentum swing,” T-Bolts catcher Zach Aakhus said. “We need that one big hit for a little spark to get us going and we never got that this series. I give (Gateway) credit, they won the series.”
Windy City’s Tyson Corley (4-8) was brilliant as well, tossing a complete game and surrendering one run on three hits, but he took a ridiculously hard-luck loss.
Corley allowed just two hits, both in the second inning, over the first five frames before Gateway broke through in the sixth.
Corley hit Richie Jimenez to start the inning, a mistake that would prove lethal. Jonathan Johnson followed with a bunt single before Jimenez took third on a passed ball and scored on Chris McClendon’s sacrifice fly.
Windy City had golden chances to score in both the sixth and seventh innings, but came up empty.
Three straight T-Bolts reached base with one out in the sixth as Bob Glover walked, Travis Weaver produced Windy City’s second hit with a single and Mike Torres drew a free pass to load the bases.
But Kaminsky got Chris Wade on a popout to catcher Landon Hernandez and Chad Cregar to fly out to right.
C.J. Gillman reached on a one-out error in the seventh before Ryan Cuneo sent a blooper down the left-field line.
Gateway shortstop Jimenez and third baseman McClendon collided on the play — Jimenez injuring himself in the process — and the ball fell, allowing a double for Cuneo.
The T-Bolts thought Gillman may have been interfered with at third as Kaminsky was covering the base, but there was no call.
Aakhus then popped up to second against reliever Jordan Cudney, who got Glover to fly out to keep the shutout intact.
That was the last threat for Windy City, as Cudney tossed 12/3 perfect innings before former T-Bolt Richard Barrett set the hosts down in order in the ninth for his 16th save.
The T-Bolts travel to Southern Illinois — where they haven’t won a game in three years — for three games before returning home for three against Lake Erie and finishing the regular season with three at River City.
“We can’t give up,” Aakhus said. “We’re certainly not out of it. If we can find a way to get into the playoffs, we’ll be tough to beat.”