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Baseball: Slammers stumble 7-4 vs. Lake Erie Crushers

Slammers pitcher Andrew Busby | Larry Kane/For Sun-Times Media

Slammers pitcher Andrew Busby | Larry Kane/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 14, 2014 6:34AM



To Joliet manager Jeff Isom, the Lake Erie Crushers are more than just the latest team on the Slammers’ schedule.

Isom guided Lake Erie to the 2013 Frontier League championship series with a 19-2 stretch in the second half of the season. Fourteen players remain from the squad Isom managed.

“I saw them in the cage when they were hitting,’’ Isom said before Tuesday night’s game. “I was out on the field and the majority of the guys came by and said hello.

“We forged some pretty good relationships. But once the game gets going, you put those relationships aside and you try to win a ballgame.’’

Joliet fell behind 2-0, went ahead 4-2 with a four-run second inning but saw Lake Erie score five unanswered runs to win the series opener 7-4 over the Slammers in front of a crowd of 2,051 at Silver Cross Field.

Lake Erie (43-32) entered Tuesday’s game with the seventh-best record in the league, one spot out of the playoffs. The two division winners and the four teams with the next-best records will make the postseason.

Joliet (29-47) started its four-run second inning with a leadoff single by Adam Giacalone and a double by Seth Granger. A well-placed bunt by former Crusher Max Casper scored Giacalone and put Granger at third.

JD Dorgan’s base hit drove in Granger and Chris Epps doubled to again put runners at second and third. Adrian English reached on an infield hit that scored Dorgan before Grant DeBruin’s sacrifice fly drove in Epps to give Joliet a 4-2 lead.

Joliet right-hander Andrew Busby, making his team-leading 15th start, ran into trouble in the fifth inning and was lifted in favor of Sam Moore.

With two outs and a runner at second, Busby allowed three straight RBI base hits. Lake Erie had pushed across a run in the fourth on a 6-4-3 double play with a runner at third.

The Slammers’ staff has considerably changed during the season, unlike last year for Isom with Lake Erie.

“When I took over that club, the pitching staff was a carryover from the year before,’’ he said.

Isom has made 19 roster moves this season compared with eight all of last year.

“Good club, outstanding group of guys, on and off the field,’’ Isom said of the 2013 Crushers. “I had a great time last year managing those young men.’’

Joliet left-hander Matt Crim (1-2, 6.00) is scheduled to pitch the middle game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Silver Cross Field.



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