Baseball: ThunderBolts, Normal CornBelters split doubleheader
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media July 3, 2014 10:32PM
Updated: July 4, 2014 2:12AM
After a power outage and plenty of rain wreaked havoc on their week, the Windy City ThunderBolts were eager for the opportunity to pick up two wins on a clear Thursday night.
“It’s definitely been a crazy week with a weird schedule,” Ryan Soares said. “We just had to keep our focus and be ready. We were fired up to play and we came out swinging and scored some early runs.”
The T-Bolts rode that offense to a 6-2 win in the doubleheader opener, but had to settle for a split as the Normal CornBelters won the nightcap 7-4 in front of 2,780 customers at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
In the opener, which was resumed in the bottom of the second with Windy City ahead 1-0 (the game was suspended because of rain Wednesday), the T-Bolts (16-25) scored twice in the second.
Max White delivered in his first at-bat since June 25, singling in Davidson Peguero (2-for-4). White stole second and came home on Mike Torres’ base hit.
Windy City added single runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
St. Rita product Jason Kafka (1-1), meanwhile, started the night on the mound and earned his first professional win, allowing one earned run (two total) in 21/3 innings of relief.
Jessie Snodgrass came on in relief of Kafka with runners at the corners and one out in the fifth and struck out two to get of trouble.
“I just came in and wanted to throw strikes,” Snodgrass said. “The last thing you want to do in that spot is fall behind guys. I know that my role on this team is to come in and get out of jams.”
Snodgrass also went the final two innings and allowed one hit, earning his first save of the season.
“With (starter Josh Spence) wasted because of the rain, ‘Smitty’ (pitching coach Brian Smith) told us this was going to be a bullpen game,” Snodgrass said. “We knew the game was on us. Kafka came out and did a great job and I was able to finish it off.”
Soares ripped a double down the right-field line in the third to score Jon Mestas (3-for-4), who had singled, to make it 4-0.
“(Mestas) got on base in front of me and I got a pitch I could hit,” Soares said. “I just tried to drive it and luckily I kept it fair.”
Kyle Robinson had an RBI single in the fourth and Soares drove in the game’s final run with a base hit in the sixth.
Normal (22-18) scored three times in the fifth in the finale to break open a 4-all tie. Ozney Guillen and Tyler Shover each had two-out RBI singles off T-Bolts reliever Reese McGraw.
The T-Bolts had rallied from a 4-0 first-inning deficit, scoring on Peguero’s single in the second and pushing across three runs in the fourth.
Evan Button came up with two on and two outs in the fourth and ripped a triple to deep center. He scored on a wild pitch to briefly tie the game.
Daniel Cropper (2-6) took the loss for Windy City, allowing five earned runs in 41/3 innings.
Thursday was the last time the T-Bolts will play at home until July 21. They’ll begin a 12-game road trip — with the All-Star break in the middle of it — Friday in Traverse City, Michigan.