Baseball: Slammers outlast ThunderBolts 8-6
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 5, 2013 10:48PM
Updated: September 7, 2013 6:28AM
When the Frontier League regular season ends in a month, it’s unlikely the postseason will include the Windy City ThunderBolts or the Joliet Slammers.
What the Slammers have going for them this week is a mental boost from taking two of three against Windy City with an 8-6 victory Monday night at Silver Cross Field.
With 27 games to go, winning series is important for teams, whether they’re pushing for the playoffs or trying to reach .500.
“Meaningless baseball the last month of the season is terrible for anybody,’’ Slammers manager Mike Breyman said. “We knew we needed to start playing better.’’
Nick Akins’ 16th home run, a two-run shot in the fourth, capped a four-run inning for the Slammers and gave starter Chuck Lofgren (6-5) a 6-3 lead.
The Slammers added two more runs in the sixth, started with base hits by Joe Meggs and Darian Sandford and aided by two errors, for an 8-4 cushion.
The Slammers got key relief help from Chase Doremus, who got out of Lofgren’s bases-loaded jam in the sixth with a strikeout and double play.
Brett Zawacki retired the side in order in the eighth, including two strikeouts. Closer Justin Erasmus faced four batters in the ninth for his 17th save.
“We by no means are out of the woods,’’ Breyman said. “We have to run off a bunch. It gives us a shot.’’
Windy City starter Matt Wickswat (4-10) took the loss, giving up six runs (two earned) and six hits over four innings.
The Slammers’ Marquis Riley, hitting .421 in his previous 10 games (16-for-38), stroked a double to deep right-center to score Niko Vasquez (walk) and tie the game 2-all in the third.
Although Windy City’s 19 home runs were the fewest in the league going into the game, the ThunderBolts led 2-1 after two innings on the longball. Zach Aakhus ripped his team-leading sixth homer in the first and Evan Button hit his fourth in the second inning.
Joliet had tied it at 1 in the first. Sandford led off with a double down the left-field line, stole third and scored on a base hit by Akins.
Next for the Slammers (30-39) is a road series starting Wednesday with the Washington Wild Things followed by home games Saturday through Monday against Lake Erie.
Windy City (30-39) opens a three-game series Wednesday against the Frontier Greys at Standard Bank Stadium before a road series against Washington.
“The one thing we control is the games we play,’’ T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “Play hard, take the result and move on to the next day.
“You can’t look at what this team is doing, what that team is doing at this point. Try to creep up to .500 and go from there.’’