Baseball: Slammers stage a hit show in 17-5 win over Gateway Grizzlies
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media September 2, 2014 10:28PM
Adrian English, of the Slammers, connects against the ThunderBolts at Standard Bank Stadium, Sunday, August 24th, 2014, in Crestwood. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2014 2:13AM
Adrian English, the Joliet Slammers’ rookie second baseman who has hit over .300 since he joined the team in July, was asked about his success when manager Jeff Isom walked by.
“Jeff Isom has taught him everything he knows,’’ Isom said with a smile.
English laughed, and replied, “A lot of knowledge from him has been part of it.’’
The 22-year-old English, a product of Division II Barry University, scored the winning run in Sunday’s 5-4 comeback victory over the Frontier Greys.
English was 3-for-6 Tuesday night in the 17-5 victory over the Gateway Grizzlies at Silver Cross Field to open the final series of the season.
Grant DeBruin hit a grand slam and a three-run homer, Russell Moldenhauer had a two-run single and Chris Epps and JD Dorgan hit solo home runs.
The Slammers (39-55) have one more win than last season with two games to play.
The Grizzlies (49-45) were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday with their loss and a Lake Erie victory. Gateway was among the league leaders most of the season until a 5-17 stretch since Aug. 10.
English has been one of the Slammers’ leading hitters since he was signed July 22 to replace Jake Gronsky, whose contract was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
“Before I came here, I was out of baseball for about a month and a half,’’ English said. “So it took me a little bit to get my timing back, at every aspect, defense and offensively.’’
“He’s exceeded our expectations,’’ Isom said. “He plays a solid second base. He’s got a great idea at the plate. He’s got a good approach. He can hit some doubles and mix in a couple home runs.’’
Going into Tuesday’s contest, English was hitting .307 in 35 games with eight doubles and two home runs.
“I try not to do too much,’’ English said. “Obviously, I’m not a power hitter. I don’t get out of my perspective and what I do at the plate. I try and stay up the middle.’’
English and reliever Jordan Wellander, roommates during the season, were teammates for two years at Barry. Wellander pitched English’s name to Isom when Joliet needed to replace Gronsky.
“He showed me the ropes of professional baseball,’’ English said of Wellander. “I’ve done good. I’m not satisfied. I’m never satisfied. I want to be better.’’
If an opportunity doesn’t come up in affiliated ball, English said he “would love to come back to Joliet’’ for the 2015 season.’’
“We’d love to have him back next year,’’ Isom said.
The middle game of the Gateway series is 10 a.m. Wednesday at Silver Cross Field with left-hander Matt Costello (3-1, 3.08) scheduled to start for the Slammers.