Baseball: Rockford Aviators edge ThunderBolts 2-1
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 27, 2014 11:17PM
ThunderBolts' Daniel Cropper | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 28, 2014 7:10PM
When a team is trying to climb out of last place, the last thing it needs is self-inflicted damage caused from mental lapses.
The Windy City ThunderBolts had a few of those in a three-game series last week with Normal, with costly baserunning mistakes contributing to a series loss.
There were more when the T-Bolts returned home Friday night as three runners were cut down on the basepaths in a 2-1 loss to the Rockford Aviators in front of 1,536 fans at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
The most costly came in the ninth inning. Kyle Robinson, who went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 20 games and increase his Frontier League-best batting average to .427, led off with a single against Rockford closer Gerardo Sanchez. Evan Button followed with a successful sacrifice bunt.
Robinson, though, got caught wandering off second after the bunt and first baseman Kenny Bryant threw him out.
Sanchez then got Ryan Soares to ground out to wrap up his eighth save for the Aviators (17-18). Button was thrown out on the basepaths twice earlier.
“Mistakes like that are huge,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “It’s just stupidity. You have to know situations. You have to know what’s going on. The first one with Evan, that was just a guy going hard and sometimes that happens, but we’ve made a lot of other mistakes lately.”
The T-Bolts (14-22) lost when leading after seven innings for the first time all season. Behind a fine start from Daniel Cropper and a typical escape-artist performance from Jessie Snodgrass, they led 1-0 with two outs in the eighth.
Victor Larez (1-1), though, gave up a bases-loaded two-run single to Kyle Dhanani that proved to be the difference.
Windy City managed just four hits, three in seven innings against Rockford starting pitcher Josh Slaats (2-0).
The biggest came from a guy who was just signed earlier in the day. Rookie Davidson Peguero came up with two on and two outs in the fourth and delivered an RBI double down the left-field line to give the T-Bolts the lead.
“I saw two guys in scoring position and I was just looking for a hole,” Peguero said. “I was trying to find a way to get on. Trying to pick up Soares (who had struck out). It felt great to get a big hit for these guys.”
Cropper went 51/3 scoreless innings, scattering six hits. Snodgrass entered with runners at the corners and one out in the sixth and struck out consecutive hitters before pitching a scoreless seventh.
“(Cropper) was outstanding,” Biga said.