Moldenhauer extra special in Slammers victory
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media June 8, 2014 11:02PM
Updated: July 10, 2014 6:35AM
After 14 innings Sunday at Silver Cross Field, Joliet Slammers manager Jeff Isom summed it all up in one sentence.
“Thank goodness we’ve got Russ on our side,’’ he said.
Russell Moldenhauer tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the 11th with a two-out home run that barely cleared the right-field wall.
“I thought the outfielder was camped,’’ he said. “I guess the wind shifted a little bit and it went out.’’
Moldenhauer wasn’t done making a difference. He led off the 14th with a double into the right-field corner and yielded to pinch-runner Tyler Grogg.
One out later, Grant DeBruin delivered a line-drive single to left that gave the Slammers their second straight 2-1 victory and a three-game sweep of the River City Rascals.
“It’s always nice to get a big hit in a situation like that,’’ DeBruin said.
Joliet climbed to 9-12 in the Frontier League West Division, while River City dropped to 13-8.
“They had been doing well, so that was definitely big for us to get three wins from them,’’ DeBruin said.
Moldenhauer finished 4-for-6 with a run, RBI and two infield hits to raise his batting average to .333.
“It was just a matter of time before he got a pitch that was left out over the plate,’’ Isom said. “Fortunately it found the corner over there and gave us a chance to play extras.’’
Slammers left-hander Blair Walters (2.53 ERA) gave up just two hits in eight innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.
“Everything just kind of was working,’’ Walters said. “Me and (catcher) Tyler (Roberts) were on the same page and I was able to locate. And my defense, making plays behind me, I was able to battle and work around a couple walks.’’
Walters pitched out of a couple of jams to keep the game scoreless.
An infield error and a walk helped River City load the bases with one out in the second, but Walters struck out Zach Kometani and induced a ground ball to third baseman DeBruin for a forceout at second.
In the third, River City had a runner on third with one out after a walk, sacrifice bunt and wild pitch before Walters recorded a strikeout and groundout.
“Walters was outstanding through his eight innings of work and our bullpen came in and got some big outs when they had to,’’ Isom said.
Chase Doremus, Ryan Connolly and Brett Zawacki (1-0) combined with Walters to strand 13 River City baserunners.
Joliet continues the homestand with a three-game series that starts Tuesday against Traverse City.
“We got a good series sweep, get back on track after a rough road trip,’’ Walters said. “Get things turned around here and keep it going.’’