Baseball: T-Bolts tempt fate too often, fall to Gateway
By tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media June 7, 2014 10:04PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 6:36AM
The Windy City ThunderBolts walked the tight rope Saturday at Standard Bank Stadium.
Hosting the Gateway Grizzlies, the T-Bolts pitched in and out of jams, allowing the offense time to mount a comeback.
But the bullpen tempted fate one time too many, Gateway scoring the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run in the eighth on the way to a 5-4 win at Standard Bank Stadium.
Gateway stranded 14 runners overall in the win, scoring the game-winner on a bases-loaded walk.
“As a team as a whole, you can’t keep walking guys and putting guys on,” Biga said. “We were lucky to get out of it with five runs because it could have been a lot more. You can’t walk three guys.”
Limited through six innings by Gateway starter Ja’Vaun West (8 IP, 4 runs, 7 strikeouts), Windy City finally clicked offensively in the seventh trailing 4-1. After a Ty Stetson RBI double, Ryan Soares ripped his own double to left center field, bringing Stetson and Mike Torres home to tie the game.
“West is a good pitcher and that’s a good team so we battled and grinded out some at-bats,” Soares said. “Finally, he left some pitches over the plate, and we put some good swings on them.”
Soares finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.
Gateway (14-7) wasted no time scratching a run back across, T-Bolts reliever Jessie Snodgrass (2-1) giving up a double and later three straight walks in the top of the eighth. His bases-loaded walk to Landon Hernandez brought home Blake Shepherd for the eventual game-winner.
Torres (3-for-4, 2 runs) ripped a single up the middle in the bottom of the ninth but Soares popped out to third in foul territory to end the game. Windy City hasn’t scored five runs in a game since May 28, a span of eight games.
For Soares, it’s just a matter of a hit here and a hit there.
“I feel like we’re doing a good job grinding out at-bats,” Soares said. “Now it’s about finding a few holes and finding a little luck. Hitting is contagious, so once one guy gets on, you’ll see us hitting a groove.”
Southpaw reliever James Ferguson was brilliant out of the bullpen Saturday, throwing four innings of one-hit ball with no walks and six strikeouts. Windy City starter Jason Kafka went just two innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and three walks.
Windy City (9-11) will wrap up the series with Gateway on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.