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Baseball: Slammers stay hot, trim Gateway Grizzlies 4-2

Updated: September 3, 2014 10:23PM



After a 4-2 win Wednesday over Gateway, the Joliet ledger includes a season-best six-game win streak and the first triple of the year for Grant DeBruin to silence his critic.

First baseman Adam Giacalone, not one of the team’s fastest runners, is among the Slammers who have tripled this season.

“Giacalone has been giving me a hard time,’’ DeBruin said with a smile. “It was nice to get that one in and tie him up.’’

Joliet (40-55) was tied for last in the Frontier League West Division with Windy City on Aug. 22, but the Slammers are 9-2 since then to move ahead of the ThunderBolts and the Rockford Aviators.

“It’s too bad this isn’t the middle of the season and we keep rolling on because we’re playing some pretty good baseball,’’ Joliet manager Jeff Isom said. “Getting good pitching, especially our bullpen. We’ve got some guys hot right now with the bats.’’

Especially DeBruin. Joliet’s second-year third baseman, the league’s leading active hitter with a .356 average, is 6-for-10 in the first two games of the series.

His seventh-inning triple drove in Adrian English (walk) with what proved to be the winning run in Wednesday’s victory. Russell Moldenhauer followed with a sacrifice fly to score DeBruin.

The night before, DeBruin piled up a team-record eight RBI when he went 4-for-6 with a grand slam and a three-run homer in the 17-5 win over the Grizzlies.

“It was a good night,’’ he said. “Sitting on pitches, guessed right a few times.’’

DeBruin hit a three-run homer to center in the fourth inning Tuesday and a long grand slam to left in the eighth that bounced onto Clinton Street.

“The first one, he had done the same thing the previous at-bat, fastball in for a ball then the changeup,’’ DeBruin said. “He did the same thing next at-bat so I was sitting changeup. ... The second one (grand slam) was a slider.’’

Besides batting average, DeBruin also leads the team in home runs with 12 and RBI with 66.

“Swinging a hot bat, swinging at strikes, hitting it hard,’’ Isom said.

Seth Granger was 1-for-3 Wednesday with an RBI and English had two hits to raise his average to .324.

Kody McFarland (4 innings, 4 hits, 1 run) relieved starter Matt Costello after two innings. Kevin McNorton (2 innings, 1 hit) got the win and David Kubiak pitched the ninth to make him 7-for-7 in save situations.

“We still give up runs early with the starting pitching, but the bullpen has been getting the job done in this stretch run we’ve had,’’ Isom said.

Defensively, left fielder Josh Scheffert made a diving catch near the foul line to end the top of the sixth with a runner at first and the game tied at 2.

The season finale is 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Silver Cross Field. Fan Appreciation Night includes a fireworks show after the game.



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