Baseball: Gateway Grizzles blank ThunderBolts 10-0
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media July 23, 2013 4:28PM
Updated: July 24, 2013 12:01PM
Taking on the Frontier League’s best team, the Gateway Grizzlies, in their first home series since the All-Star break, it’s been painfully clear for the Windy City ThunderBolts how big the gap is between them and the class of the league.
A day after falling 6-1 in the series opener, the T-Bolts were shut out for the 10th time this season, bowing 11-0 in front of 2,082 fans, most of them children, on Splash Day at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“All we can do is show up (Wednesday), put our best guys on the field and go to battle,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “We need some guys to start hitting line drives and get balls through holes.”
Gateway (35-21) got a three-hitter from Jake Stephens (2-1), who entered the day with a 6.17 ERA but dominated the T-Bolts (23-34), who fell for the fourth straight time after opening the second half Friday with a win over Traverse City.
The T-Bolts, who were blanked just four times last season, are one away from the franchise record of 11 with 49 games still to play. The league record is 15.
Windy City starter Travis Tingle, meanwhile, pitching for the first since July 10, struggled mightily.
Coming off six innings of shutout ball in his previous start, against Southern Illinois, the rookie from the University of Louisville was roughed up for eight runs, seven of them earned, on 10 hits in three-plus innings.
“I don’t know if the layoff hurt him, but he definitely wasn’t sharp at all,” Biga said.
Two errors by left fielder Kyle Robinson didn’t help, either. His first allowed Jonathan Johnson (2-for-3, 3 walks, 4 runs) to score after Johnson led off the game with an double.
The first five Gateway hitters in the third reached base via four singles and a walk, and four came around to score.
The Grizzlies tacked on three more runs in the fourth as Vladimir Frias doubled, Johnson singled and Nick DeLorenzo singled to start the frame and finally chase Tingle.
Gateway scored twice more off Colin O’Connell in the sixth and added an eighth-inning run.
The T-Bolts meanwhile, got a double from Ryan Soares in the first and did not record another hit until the fifth, when Zach Aakhus and Evan Button opened the inning with consecutive singles.
Robinson flied out and Doug Joyce hit into a double play to end the threat.
“We just have to keep battling,” Aakhus said. “It seems like we get hot at times and then get really cold. We’re really cold now and we have to battle through it.”