Joliet Slammers (21) Kody McFarland starting pitcher against Windy City ThunderBolts held at Silver Cross Field Joliet,IL. on Saturday, July 19, 2014 | Larry Kane/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 19, 2014 10:10PM
Pregame smiles between Windy City manager Ron Biga and Joliet skipper Jeff Isom as they turned in their lineups belied what they’ve witnessed this season from their teams.
The ThunderBolts had lost 10 of 11 going into Saturday night’s game and the Slammers were 10 games under .500 in the Frontier League West Division, one step above the last-place T-Bolts.
With three series against each other in a month, the opportunity exists for one team to make a move in the standings.
Led by left-hander Jake Fisher, Windy City evened the weekend series at a game apiece with a 4-1 victory over the Slammers in front of a crowd of 3,046 at Silver Cross Field.
Earning his third win in 11 starts, Fisher held Joliet to two hits through seven innings before the Slammers scored once off him in the eighth.
“Locating my breaking balls as well as my fastball, being able to locate two different pitches in any count,’’ Fisher said.
The 23-year-old Fisher, a native of Norman, Oklahoma, had two losses and two no-decisions in his previous four starts.
“Consistency, keeping my pitches down,’’ Fisher said of the difference in his Saturday outing. “Keeping the right mind-set throughout the entire game, in between innings.’’
Fisher (3-6) lasted 81/3 innings, with Jessie Snodgrass getting the final two outs for his second save.
Leading 1-0 since the first inning, Windy City (18-34) added three runs in the eighth. A leadoff double by Mike McGuckin was followed by a one-out RBI single from Mike Torres (2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI).
Ryan Soares’ sacrifice fly, his second RBI of the game, scored Torres to give Windy City a 3-0 lead. Ryan McIntyre’s double brought in Kyle Robinson (intentional walk) for a 4-0 cushion.
The ThunderBolts went ahead 1-0 in the first on a two-out single by Soares that drove in Torres (double).
Joliet starting pitcher Kody McFarland (2-2) lasted 71/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.
The Slammers (21-32) got their only run on Jake Gronsky’s RBI double in the eighth.
“Just basically keeping the ball down and having faith in my defense. They played a heckuva game behind me,’’ Fisher said of his success.
After Sunday’s series finale against Windy City, Joliet plays two series against struggling Traverse City and another set against the T-Bolts.
“We’ve got to make up some ground,’’ Isom said before Saturday’s game. “All those teams are under .500, but that doesn’t mean anything. You’ve still got to go out there and beat them. It’s an important stretch for us, there’s no question.’’