September 18, 2014

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Crushers, East all-stars win Frontier League title

Crushers third baseman Andrew Davis is introduced with the East starting lineup Wednesday night in Avon. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

Crushers third baseman Andrew Davis is introduced with the East starting lineup Wednesday night in Avon. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

AVON — The largest crowd to ever watch a baseball game at All Pro Freight Stadium witnessed the best the Frontier League had to offer.

And the 5,237 fans who packed The Freight weren’t disappointed.

Led by a three-run first inning and a combined two-hitter, the host East All-Stars — with four Crushers contributing in some way — held off the West All-Stars 4-2 Wednesday night in the Frontier League All-Star Game.

“I love winning!” Crushers third baseman Andrew Davis exclaimed in the clubhouse after the game. Davis played the entire game, going 0-for-3. “It was fun … until I didn’t get any hits. But, no, this was awesome. The biggest crowd we had at this stadium. It was awesome to see all the people out to support all the guys in the league. They don’t even know any of them, but they came out anyway.

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“It would be nice if we had this many people at our games.”

Joliet’s Erik Lis was a unanimous choice as the Most Valuable Player, going 2-for-3 with a triple, a single, two RBIs and a run scored.

His two-run triple in the bottom of the first scored the first two runs of the game for the East.

“In batting practice, the wind kept blowing in, so I was trying to keep the ball low when I hit it,” Lis said. “It just took a good bounce and kept rolling.

“When you get in an All-Star Game, everyone is a good player. This award doesn’t mean I’m the best; it just means I had a good game tonight.”

Lis’ triple was the East’s third hit in a row to start the bottom of the first off West’s Zach Sterner. The River City hurler was 6-1 with a 2.24 ERA during the first half of the regular season. Traverse City’s Matt Brown led off with a double, and Windy City’s Mike Torres — who also went 2-for-3 — followed with a single.

Lis scored on J.T. Hall’s groundout to second to make it a 3-0 lead the East never relinquished.

“It was nice jumping out like that against a great pitcher,” said Windy City manager Mike Kashirsky, who led the East squad. “You’re here and it’s good to see the guys be successful and a couple runs early like that.”

Both hits the West mustered against the nine East pitchers were home runs — the only homers hit in the game.

Normal’s Steve Alexander snapped the no-hit bid with a two-out solo home run off Washington’s Justin Hall in the top of the fourth, cutting the lead to 3-1.

The West threatened again in the eighth against Lake Erie’s Kelyn Schellenberg.

Back-to-back fielding errors on grounders hit by Florence’s Justin Williams and Gateway’s Joe Agreste put two runners on with one out. However, Schellenberg coaxed a grounder to second by River City’s Joash Brodin for the second out, and retired Normal’s Asif Shah on a fly to center to escape the jam.

Next up

  • Who: Lake Erie Crushers vs. Washington Wild Things
  • When: Friday, 7:05 p.m.
  • Where: Consol Energy Park, Washington, Pa.

Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or dangilles73@gmail.com.