November 27, 2014

Elyria
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Matt Rein’s pitching and Anderson Hidalgo’s hitting key as Crushers crush Thunderbolts, snap losing streak

AVON — A fire alarm was pulled at All Pro Freight Stadium before Tuesday’s Lake Erie Crushers game.

It was a false alarm, but it may have served as a wake-up call for the team, which snapped a three-game losing streak with an 11-0 win over the Windy City Thunderbolts.

After being held to just five runs in those three losses at Traverse City, the Crushers — led by designated hitter Anderson Hidalgo — doubled that total in just one game.

Hidalgo’s 5-for-5 performance with six RBIs, coupled by yet another shutout by Matt Rein, lifted the struggling Crushers in front of 2,116 fans.

The Crushers (18-21, 10-8 at The Freight) finally got the total effort manager Jeff Isom had been hoping to see out of his team this season — a great game from his starting pitcher along with one of the best offensive performances by his team this year.

And it was the team’s sixth win at home in their last nine games.

“That’s the effort we’ve been looking for all year,” Isom said. “But we’ve got to repeat it. We’re capable of doing it, but we just have to go out there with the mindset that this is the approach we have to have at the plate — take the handful of walks, which we walked seven times tonight — and wait for pitches to hit. When you get into hitting counts, guys take advantage of it.”

Rein (4-3), who already had a one-hit shutout at The Freight under his belt, came back Tuesday with a two-hitter. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter, facing more than three hitters in an inning only twice, lowering his ERA to 2.07 in the process.

“As soon as we put up three runs, it was huge,” Rein said. “I knew, at that point, all I had to do was throw strikes. Even if they hit a home run, it wouldn’t have mattered, I just couldn’t walk anyone.”

Meanwhile, Hidalgo had the best game of his season, getting four singles and a double and driving in the first five runs. Hidalgo raised his average to a team-best .328 and his RBI totals to 18. He’s had hits in five straight games and seven of his last eight.

“Every time I come to the field, I try to do my best for the team,” Hidalgo said through interpreter Emmanuel Quiles. “I went
5-for-5, which I was very excited to do, but tomorrow’s another day. If I can keep doing this for the team, I think we’ll keep doing great things.”

Hidalgo, who had an RBI single in the second, added a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the third, capping a two-out rally started by Max Casper’s single and back-to-back walks issued to Andrew Davis and Daniel Bowman, to make it a 3-0 lead. Then, in the fifth, he hit a two-run single down the left-field line to make it 5-0.

“Fortunately, he had opportunities where he had guys in scoring position every time he was up until his last,” Isom said. “A lot of that was because of guys, such as Davis, taking walks. Davis only had five walks this entire season and he took three straight tonight, and he scored on all three of those. The guys gave Anderson the opportunity to have that big night, and he took advantage by going 5-for-5 with six RBIs. We’ll take it.”

Rein allowed only a two-out single to Adam Davis in the top of the second and a leadoff single to Michael Torres in the seventh. He struck out the side in the fifth, but his defense did most of the work behind him, converting nine ground-ball outs and turning a double play on a fly ball to right in the seventh.

Tonight

  • WHO: Lake Erie vs. Windy City
  • TIME: 7:05
  • WHERE: All Pro Freight Stadium, Avon

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