Baseball: Slammers bow to Normal CornBelters
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media June 17, 2014 10:58PM
Updated: July 19, 2014 6:28AM
The 2013 season didn’t start well for Lake Erie, but it finished with the Crushers in the Frontier League championship series.
First-year Joliet manager Jeff Isom remembers the turnaround his Lake Erie team put together last season and sees a similar scene with the Slammers.
“We got off to a slow start, we added a couple of pieces to the puzzle and things took off,’’ Isom said of the 2013 Crushers. “It’s a lot like we’ve had here. We got no-hit last year ... It’s eerily similar to last year.’’
Joliet had won six of nine going into Tuesday night’s series opener against the Normal CornBelters, but the Slammers blew an early 5-3 lead and lost 14-6 at Silver Cross Field.
Normal was able to get to starting pitcher Matt Dillon for six runs and eight hits in 32/3 innings. Reliever Sam Moore also struggled in two-thirds of an inning.
Normal (13-14) added four more runs in the seventh to help the CornBelters get their sixth straight victory, nine in the past 11 games.
The Slammers (12-16) homered three times in a five-run second inning to go ahead 5-3.
Grant DeBruin led off the inning with his fourth long ball of the season and Adam Giacalone followed with his third, both to right field.
Jose Garcia singled with one out, Tyler Roberts had a two-out RBI double and Max Casper hit a line drive over the left-field wall for the 5-3 lead.
Casper, the Slammers’ slim shortstop, initially was given the silent treatment when the non-slugger returned to the dugout and pretended to high-five his teammates, who then turned to congratulate him.
Joliet was coming off a 6-2 road win Sunday over the Washington Wild Things, who had a league-best 18-9 record going into Tuesday’s schedule. Rookie left-hander and Northern Illinois product Jake Hermsen earned his first pro victory against Washington.
“He’s done real well,’’ Isom said. “He’s able to throw breaking pitches for strikes. He’s got a decent fastball. He does a lot of good things controlling the running game. He knows how to pitch.
“We didn’t know what we were going to get when he started. We didn’t even know if he was going to be in the starting rotation. He wasn’t, we had Danny Hernandez leave and he gets plugged in.’’
Joliet’s Kody McFarland (1-1, 3.09 ERA) is scheduled to start Wednesday’s 10:05 a.m. Day Camp Day game against Normal.