Baseball: Lake Erie Crushers hand ThunderBolts first loss of 2014 season
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media May 22, 2014 4:20PM
Updated: June 24, 2014 8:04AM
After rolling to a 5-0 record, the Windy City ThunderBolts perhaps were due for a bad day.
They certainly had one Thursday, committing five errors and allowing seven unearned runs as the Lake Erie Crushers rolled to a 12-4 win in front of 2,352 fans on a School Day at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“We definitely weren’t as crisp as we have been,” Windy City’s Mike Torres said. “It happens. These 10:35 (a.m.) starts are tough. As long as we don’t let it carry over, we’ll be fine. This was a great first homestand for us.”
Early on, it seemed Thursday would bring more of the same for the T-Bolts (5-1). Windy City grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first as Torres doubled and scored on Ryan Soares’ single and Soares (2-for-4) came in on Max White’s two-out base hit.
Things started to unravel in the third, though, as a Soares error opened the door for a three-run rally for Lake Erie (4-2).
The Crushers scored three more times in the fifth, chasing T-Bolts starting pitcher Daniel Cropper in the process, on four hits and another key Soares error.
Cropper (1-1), who got the Opening Night start for Windy City and allowed one run in 61/3 innings, lasted just 41/3 this time, allowing six runs — though just three were earned — on eight hits while striking out and walking one.
One of the lone bright spots for the T-Bolts was the outing for Zak Wasserman, who worked a perfect 11/3 innings, striking out two.
“It was a good feeling,” he said. “I was a little nervous out there, but I just tried to get ahead with first-pitch strikes. Any time you do well, it’s a confidence boost, especially your first time out.”
Wasserman was an infielder for his collegiate career at Louisville, and is making the transition back to the mound.
“It’s different,” he said. “You get used to getting up for a nine-inning game and now you have to go out to the bullpen and wait your turn. I’m getting used to it.”
Lake Erie, which was led by Emmanuel Quiles’ four RBI, added four runs — all unearned — off St. Rita product Jason Kafka in the sixth and two more off Hayden Shirley in the eighth.
Connor Whalen (1-0) earned the win for Lake Erie, allowing three earned runs on six hits in 62/3 innings.
Kyle Robinson singled home Soares in the sixth and Ryan McIntyre (2-for-4) hit Windy City’s first home run of the year with a blast to right field in the ninth.
Windy City will open its first road series of the season Friday at Traverse City. The T-Bolts return home Tuesday for a three-game set with Southern Illinois.