Baseball: ThunderBolts defeat Frontier Greys 5-1 in season opener
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media May 16, 2014 10:20PM
Ryan Soares, of the ThunderBolts, connects for the season opener against the Frontier Grey, Friday, May 17th, 2014 in Crestwood. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 17, 2014 4:46PM
One of the lowlights in the 3-11 May that destroyed the Windy City Thunderbolts’ 2013 season came when the Frontier Greys swept the T-Bolts in their first home series of the year at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
The Greys were in town for Opening Night again Friday, and the T-Bolts hope their performance was a sign that things will be different this year. Windy City pounded out 10 hits and rode a strong performance from starter Daniel Cropper to a 5-1 win.
“It was a great start for us,” T-Bolts designated hitter Kyle Robinson said. “We came out and just tried to stay within ourselves and try not to do too much. I think the cold weather (42 degrees at first pitch) actually helped us not try to do too much and just look for good at-bats.”
The T-Bolts began to hit Greys starting pitcher Justin Jackson hard in the third inning. Doug Joyce doubled into the left-center field gap and scored when Mike Torres (2-for-3) tripled high off the wall in right, just missing a home run.
Ryan McIntyre (2-for-4, RBI, two runs) produced his own triple off the wall, this one to left, to start the fourth and came home on Robinson’s single to make it 2-0.
Windy City broke it open with three runs in the sixth. The first four hitters of the inning reached base as Torres singled, Ryan Soares was hit by a pitch, McIntyre singled in Torres and Soares came home on the third straight base hit for Robinson (3-for-4). An error scored the home team’s fifth run of the night.
“Guys came out and swung the bats and took a simple approach in the cold weather,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “We had good hard-hit line drives.”
After cruising through six innings, Cropper seemed to run out of gas in the seventh. After allowing a single to Matt Chavez and hitting Greg Bachman, Cropper lost his shutout and was chased following a run-scoring grounder.
Jessie Snodgrass entered and walked Matthew Scruggs to load the bases with one out, but got Cameron Monger to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to get out of trouble.
Cropper went 61/3 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits while striking out four and not issuing a walk.
“It’s an honor to get to pitch the opener,” Cropper said. “It shows how much your hard work has paid off. It was great to be back in the ‘Thunder Dome’ and come out and set the tone for the season.”