Baseball: Three Slammers, one ThunderBolt named to Frontier League All-Star Game
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media July 7, 2014 9:50PM
Slammers DH Russell Moldenhauer takes in the action against the Normal CornBelters. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2014 2:13AM
Facing a stretch of eight games in six days this week, the Joliet Slammers received some good news Monday when three players were named to the Frontier League West Division All-Star team.
Designated hitter Russell Moldenhauer will start for the West team at the July 16 All-Star Game in Sauget, Illinois. The first-year Slammer is hitting .286 with five homers and a team-leading 26 RBI.
Third baseman Grant DeBruin and starting pitcher Blair Walters were named as reserves for the West squad.
DeBruin is fourth in the league with a .357 batting average. He has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games and is 10-for-21 in the last five contests, a .476 average.
Walters leads the league in innings (672/3) and his 2.66 ERA ranks 11th. Batters are hitting just .218 against Walters, the Slammers’ most consistent starting pitcher.
Joliet’s staff has been knocked around in losing 10 of 13 games, but manager Jeff Isom doesn’t point only to the mound.
“It’s not always coming down to pitching,’’ he said. “We’ve got opportunities to score extra runs with two outs in particular. We’re putting ourselves where it’s a one-run game and putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers.
“Eventually, we’ve got to start getting more two-out hits and taking the pressure off the pitchers.’’
Joliet plays a doubleheader Tuesday at Normal followed by single games Wednesday and Thursday. The Slammers then go to Schaumburg for single games Friday and Sunday and a Saturday doubleheader.
“It’s going to be a long week,’’ Walters said. “We’re confident in ourselves. If we go out and play like we can, there’s no reason why we can’t come out 6-2, even maybe win eight straight.’’
Joliet (17-26) will have to win five of the eight games to equal the 22-29 record the 2013 Slammers had at the All-Star break.
Recent pitching signees Colin Gotzon, a rookie from Lehigh University, and former Southern Illinois Miner Travis Bradshaw are scheduled to make their Slammers debuts in the first two games against Normal.
“He says he’s healthy,’’ Isom said of the 6-foot-7 Bradshaw, 3-0 with a 2.80 ERA last season with Southern Illinois. “We’ll see what we get there.’’
Windy City outfielder Kyle Robinson made the starting lineup for the West Division All-Star team. Robinson, who played briefly last year for the Slammers, has a league-best .388 batting average.
Slammers go Dutch
The Dutch National Fast-Pitch softball team will face the Slammers in a Battle of the Sexes softball game at 7:05 p.m. Monday at Silver Cross Field.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the Slammers and residents of Will County,’’ Slammers general manager Chris Franklin said.