Baseball: ThunderBolts walk-off 6-5 winners over Fronter Greys
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media August 15, 2014 10:18PM
ThunderBolts Mike Torres warms up wearing an alternate jersey to support Operation Lifesaver a program to help bring awareness to pedestrians and railroad safety. The jersey's were auctioned off during the game against the Frontier Greys at Standard Bank Stadium, Saturday, August 15th, 2014, in Crestwood. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 16, 2014 4:15PM
Kyle Robinson and the Windy City ThunderBolts suddenly have developed quite a flair for the dramatic.
For the second straight night, Robinson provided a walk-off hit. This time it was a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth Friday as the T-Bolts rallied for a 6-5 win over the Frontier Greys in front of 2,356 customers at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“Winning is always fun, but doing it like this with walk-offs the last two nights is great, especially with my dad here watching,” Robinson said.
Andrew Brauer (3-for-4) started the ninth-inning rally off Greys closer Cameron Lamb with a leadoff single.
“As a leadoff hitter, I was comfortable in that situation,” Brauer said. “He fell behind me 2-0 and I got a fastball. Then, me and Mike (Torres) talk all the time about how it’s a good time to run.”
Brauer ran, stealing second. Torres followed with a bunt and Lamb tried unsuccessfully to throw Brauer out at third, putting runners at the corners. After Torres stole second, Robinson ripped the game-winner to left field.
“Whether you’re in (the playoff race) or out of it, you have to be professional and play like professionals and these guys are doing that,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “I’m proud of them.”
Trailing 3-1, the T-Bolts (29-49) rallied — with the help of some shoddy defense — to score three times in the fifth. Brauer and Torres began the inning with consecutive singles. When Brauer headed for third on Torres’ base hit, Greys center fielder Chris Ellison fired the ball over third base and into the Windy City dugout, allowing Brauer to score and Torres to take third.
After the T-Bolts had runners at second and third with no outs, Greys starter Clint Wright seemed poise to get out of it with no further damage, but former T-Bolt Chase Tucker booted Max White’s two-out grounder to short and two runs came home to give the hosts a 4-3 lead.
The Greys answered right back in the sixth against Windy City starter Travis Tingle. Joe Rapp doubled and was advanced home by a pair of groundouts. Frank Florio, who was with the T-Bolts in spring training but did not make the roster, became the first player to homer off the new scoreboard in right field, giving the Greys a 5-4 lead.
Tingle went a seasonlong seven innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits. He struck out eight and did not issue a walk.
Windy City threatened in the eighth, putting runners at the corners with two outs on singles by White and Garrett Carey, but Wright got Mike McGuckin to bounce back to the mound to end the threat.
For the fourth straight night, the T-Bolts fell behind in the first inning as Ellison provided an RBI double.
Windy City opened the third with four straight singles and got a run on Brauer’s base hit, but they missed a big change for a big inning.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Wright struck out Robinson, Ryan Soares and Tony Viger — the T-Bolts’ Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters — in order.
The Greys added two runs in the fifth as Steve Rogers homered before Tucker tripled and scored on Jon Dziomba’ sacrifice fly.