Baseball: ThunderBolts close home slate with 8-0 win over Lake Erie Crushers
By Steve MIllar For Sun-Times Media August 29, 2013 10:44PM
Updated: October 1, 2013 6:29AM
Chad Cregar has his name all over the Windy City ThunderBolts record book. Last season, he set team single-season marks with 31 home runs and 93 RBI.
In what he says, barring an unlikely playoff berth, will end up being his final at-bat at Standard Bank Stadium, Cregar delivered one more time for the home crowd Thursday, singling home good friend Mike Torres in the eighth inning.
“I came up for the last at-bat I’ll ever have here and it felt great getting that hit,” Cregar said. “Mikey said there was no way he was going to stop. He was going to score no matter what.”
Cregar’s single capped another great night for the T-Bolts, who closed out their home schedule by completing a three-game sweep of the Lake Erie Crushers with an 8-0 rout in front of 1,587 fans in Crestwood.
With its win and Normal’s 9-5 victory over Florence, Windy City (46-44) moved to within three games of the final Frontier League playoff spot with six contests left.
After the T-Bolts had just one complete-game shutout before this week, Daniel Cropper tossed the second in three days, holding Lake Erie (51-39) to four hits while striking out two and walking one in an efficient 94-pitch effort.
“I give a lot of credit to my defense,” Cropper said. “I only had two strikeouts. It was all defense. We just pounded fastballs in and out. To have (Lake Erie) come in here in first place and sweep them and give us a chance (at the playoffs) is huge.”
Andrew Brauer tripled and scored on an error in the second before Doug Joyce, the next hitter, homered to straightaway center for a quick 2-0 lead.
Cregar doubled and scored on a single by Zach Aakhus (2-for-5) in the third. Aakhus came in on Brauer’s groundout.
Evan Button (2-for-3) produced an RBI double in the fourth, Aakhus doubled and scored on a balk in the seventh and Button walked and scored on an error in the eighth before Cregar closed the scoring.
Torres finished the night 3-for-4.
Lake Erie manager Jeff Isom was ejected in the second inning for arguing after Jayce Ray was called safe on a pickoff attempt.
The T-Bolts finished 30-21 at home and will close the season with three games at Normal and three at Florence.
“This group of guys is on fire right now,” Cregar said. “Everybody believes in everybody, and we’re playing great baseball.”