Baseball: ThunderBolts turn back Florence Freedom
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 17, 2014 10:26PM
Jake Fisher, of the ThunderBolts, delivers a pitch against the Southern Illinois Miners, Thursday, May 29th, 2014 in Crestwood. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 19, 2014 6:28AM
For the Windy City ThunderBolts’ offense, recent games have seemed to result in the same old story: pile up a bunch of hits, but don’t score many runs.
Opening a three-game series Tuesday night vs. the Florence Freedom, the T-Bolts changed that plot line.
They bunted for hits, sacrificed successfully and stole bases. The hit count was again high, at a season-high 14, and this time they were strung together. It all resulted in an 8-4 win in front of 1,952 customers at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“We’ve had some team meetings and we’ve talked a lot about how we’ve been playing,” Windy City’s Mike Torres said. “One thing that stood out was Victor (Larez) called a team meeting. To have a veteran like that speak out was really a wakeup call. We know we have competitors here and we have to go out and compete a bit more than we have been.”
After Florence (14-13) scored three times on four hits off Windy City starter Jake Fisher in the second to take a 3-1 lead, the T-Bolts (12-15) tied the game in the third.
Torres walked, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error before Kyle Robinson blasted his third home run in two games to straightaway center to make it a 3-3 game.
Windy City added two more in the fourth to chase Florence starter Casey Henn (2-2). Andrew Brauer led off the inning with a base hit, stole second and scored on a base hit from Max White. Torres then doubled home White.
White started a sixth-inning rally with a single and scored on an error. Another Torres run-scoring double to the left-center field gap and a Robinson RBI single gave the T-Bolts more insurance, completing a three-run inning to increase the lead to 8-3.
“Kyle has been carrying us,” Torres said. “Now that we have (Evan) Button back and we brought in (Justin) Dalles, we’re swinging the bats well. We just had to get back in an offensive rhythm.”
Meanwhile, Fisher (2-4) fought off the rough second to turn in a strong outing. He went 72/3 innings, allowing four runs — three earned — on eight hits and three walks, striking out six.
He departed with two on and two outs in the eighth, and Ben Kline (4-for-4) greeted Jessie Snodgrass with a double that cut the T-Bolts lead to 8-4. Snodgrass, though, got Bobby Joe Tannehill to ground out to strand a pair in scoring position.
Daniel Carela returned from the injured list to pitch a scoreless ninth.
Robinson’s sacrifice fly scored Button, who doubled and moved to third on Torres’ bunt hit, in the first.