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Baseball: Andrew Busby solid as Joliet Slammers win exhibition finale

Updated: May 13, 2014 10:38PM



A win in the exhibition finale doesn’t signal a turnaround for the Joliet Slammers, who finished spring training with a winning record, but it’s a good sign for pitcher Andrew Busby.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-hander limited the Schaumburg Boomers to one hit and no runs with five strikeouts over five innings in an 8-1 victory Tuesday at Silver Cross Field.

“It was pretty important to me, just like every game,’’ Busby said. “Worked hard all offseason, finally starting to see things come I’ve been working toward. It’s just great to be out there again. I can’t wait for the season.’’

The impressive performance against the defending Frontier League champions could have earned the 23-year-old Alabama native a spot in the Slammers rotation.

“I’m not sure what my role is yet,’’ Busby said. “Whatever comes, I’ll take it.’’

“We’ve been looking for a fifth starter,’’ Joliet manager Jeff Isom said. “We’re trying to make that decision. With his effort out there, that was outstanding.

“That’s probably one of the best pitching performances by any of our guys. He’ll be in the mix for the fifth starting spot.’’

The Slammers signed Busby in July out of Alabama-Huntsville, where he had a 1.92 ERA with 86 strikeouts and only 24 walks in 89 innings.

Busby had an ERA of just over 3.00 in 10 games with the Slammers, but was 0-6 because he pitched for the worst hitting team in the league.

“I’ve always been told, ‘Control the things you can control,’ ’’ Busby said. “You can’t control what the offense does. You can’t control what your defense does behind you. All you can do is throw strikes and hope something good happens.

“This is a new year, and I’m happy to be here.’’

Joliet started Tuesday with 28 players on its exhibition roster, four above the limit for the Opening Day roster. The Slammers’ season opener is Friday against Southern Illinois.

“There’s still some spots we’ve got to try to figure out,’’ Isom said.

The Slammers had 18 hits Tuesday in the win that gave them a 4-3 spring training record. Trinity Christian product Bill Miller hit two homers and designated hitter Russell Moldenhauer had three hits.

“I think we really showed what we’re capable of,’’ Moldenhauer said. “Hopefully, we can keep going into the season like this.’’

Schaumburg was 59-37 last season and swept its two playoff series, including the title series against Isom’s former team, the Lake Erie Crushers. Tuesday’s win didn’t provide extra satisfaction for the Slammers’ new manager.

“There’s a lot of turnover in the league. I don’t know which pitchers he had going,’’ Isom said. “We want to try to win every game we can.’’



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