Baseball: ThunderBolts fall 6-4 to Florence Freedom
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 18, 2014 4:26PM
Updated: July 21, 2014 3:32PM
Ben Kline and the Florence Freedom made a long day seem even longer Wednesday for the Windy City ThunderBolts.
Kline, who went 4-for-4 Tuesday, extended his streak of consecutive at-bats with a hit to nine, going 5-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI as Florence topped the T-Bolts 6-4 at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
It was “Splash Day” at the ballpark, and more than water balloons and squirt guns contributed to it as strong rain forced a 1-hour, 59-minute delay in the third inning. The Freedom (15-13) recorded the final out more than five hours after the first pitch.
The T-Bolts (12-16) had their opponent score the first run of the game for the 10th time in 11 contests — Florence scoring twice in the first — and never fully recovered.
“It’s certainly not something we want to do,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “It happens. You’d like to be the team that jumps out to the lead first, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened for us lately. You have to keep battling back.”
Down 6-1 in the seventh, Windy City did battle back to make it a game. Ty Stetson (2-for-4) produced an RBI triple and scored on Mike Torres’ base hit in the seventh, but Kyle Robinson lined into a double play to thwart the rally.
The T-Bolts cut the deficit to 6-4 in the eighth when Ryan Soares singled and scored on Andrew Brauer’s sacrifice fly, but they ultimately paid for stranding a runner at third base four times.
Windy City totaled 10 hits, reaching double digits for the third straight game, but left nine on base.
“Guys are swinging it better, we’re getting better at-bats,” Biga said. “We left some situations where we could have scored out there (Wednesday).”
Kline had an RBI single in the first and a run-scoring double in the third to help put the T-Bolts in the early hole.
“I’m just going up there with confidence,” Kline said. “You get into a rhythm. You see the ball early and you let your hands take over. These have been the best two days I’ve had.”
Eli Anderson (0-3) allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) in three innings. He didn’t return after the delay, unlike Florence starter Peter Gehle (2-1), who wasn’t bothered by the two-hour break and managed to get through 61/3 innings, allowing two runs.
Jon Mestas (2-for-3) singled and scored on Brauer’s base hit in the second.
The rubber game of the three-game set is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Thursday.