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Baseball: ThunderBolts’ hitting improves, but runs still lacking

Updated: July 16, 2014 6:45AM



The nine hits on the scoreboard Saturday night were another sign that the Windy City ThunderBolts are close to putting it all together offensively.

The two runs, though, were a source of frustration as the T-Bolts could not produce enough timely hits, falling 4-2 to the Schaumburg Boomers in front of 1,975 fans at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.

The teams will play the rubber match of the three-game set at 2 p.m. Sunday.

“The nine hits are definitely a positive,” Windy City’s Andrew Brauer said. “Only getting two runs, though, we’re not doing enough. Our situational hitting needs to be better. We need to make more productive outs and get guys around and in.”

St. Rita product Jason Kafka got the start on the mound for Windy City (11-14) and struggled with his control. Kafka (0-1) walked three, hit two, and unleashed a wild pitch. He only lasted four innings.

Schaumburg (14-12) took advantage, scoring three times on just three hits over the first four innings. Alexi Colon led off the game with a triple and came home on Tyler Sciacca’s grounder.

Kafka paid for a leadoff walk in the second and a one-out hit batter in the fourth as both came around to score.

The bullpen was again brilliant in keeping the T-Bolts in the game as James Ferguson and Victor Larez combined to allow one run over the final five innings.

Larez tossed a perfect 2 2/3 innings, striking out five.

Since moving to the bullpen, Larez — a native of Venezuela — has been terrific, allowing one run in 10 2/3 innings over six appearances.

“All three of my pitches were working,” Larez said through a translator. “I had a long season in Venezuela and I’ve pitched a lot, and that’s helped me out.”

The T-Bolts got a run in the second when Brauer (2-for-4) singled, moved to second on a balk, and scored on a base hit from Max White (2-for-4).

Brauer doubled and scored on a single from Jon Mestas (2-for-4) in the sixth, but that was all Windy City could manage against Schaumburg starter Anthony Smith (3-1) and a pair of relievers.

It was a good all-around day for Mokena native Brauer, who also showed off his arm in right field, nearly gunning down Mark Nelson on a sacrifice fly in the second — catcher Doug Joyce dropped the throw — and nailing Colon at the plate in the third.

“We get up for the good teams in the league and we’ve played well against them,” Brauer said. “We feel like we can be one of those top teams. We just need to be consistent every night.”



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