AVON — Lake Erie Crushers starting pitcher Todd Kibby will remember Friday night for the rest of his life.
After retiring the side in order in the first inning, he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Amanda, who said yes.
And heading into the top of the ninth, Kibby’s wonderful night looked like it was going to end with a win.
However, closer Jason Wilson and first baseman Andrew Davis helped spoil all the fun in a disastrous ninth inning as the Washington Wild Things escaped All Pro Freight Stadium with a 5-3 come-from-behind win in front of 3,850 fans.
“It was a good game,” Crushers manager Chris Mongiardo said. “I’m not really sure what the problem is (with Wilson). I’ll have to look at the videotape on that. He’s thrown a couple good pitches to go 0-2, then it goes back to 2-2 instead of going right back at them. I’d have to look closer, but he might not be pounding the strike zone.”
Wilson (4-2), who blew a save two weeks ago against the Wild Things, gave up four runs (two earned) on three hits in only a third of an inning Friday night. He wasn’t helped by Davis, who was playing only his third game in the field this season.
After Wilson turned a potential sacrifice bunt into a force play at third for the first out, leadoff hitter Daniel Poma hit what looked like a routine grounder to first base. But Davis couldn’t get his glove down, and the ball skipped off it and into right field for an error.
Sam Montgomery, who singled to left as a pinch hitter, scored from second on Davis’ miscue. Instead of a potential game-ending double play, Washington cut the deficit to one and had runners on first and second with just one out.
That loomed large when Garrett Rau followed with single to center to load the bases. C.J. Beatty, after fouling off a few pitches, then drew a full-count walk to force in the tying run.
Wilson’s night ended four pitches later when cleanup hitter Stewart Ijames ripped a single past a diving Davis into right. That scored Poma and Rau to give Washington a 5-3 lead.
Rookie reliever Brant Masters retired the next two hitters to end the threat, but the damage was done. Ex-Crusher Jonathan Kountis earned his 14th save with 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.
Davis’ miscue was one of four errors by the Crushers. Two of the errors led to three unearned runs.
“I don’t know if the errors cost us the ballgame or not,” Mongiardo said. “The bases probably shouldn’t have been loaded after that. But we’ve got to clean it up defensively for sure.”
The meltdown prevented what would have been Kibby’s fifth win of the season. He lowered his ERA to 1.46 with 6⅓ sterling innings. He struck out seven, walked one, gave up five hits and one earned run on a throwing error from catcher Emmanuel Quiles in the third.
Kibby had mixed emotions following the game.
“She said she was going to kill me (for proposing on the field during a game),” Kibby said of his fiancee with a laugh. “I was a little nervous going out there because it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You only get married once in your life. But after that, I settled down, got the Jell-O out of my legs and went out there and tried to do what I’ve been doing — throwing strikes.”
Mongiardo, the Crushers’ pitching coach last year when Wild Things starter Alex Kaminsky was one of the Crushers’ top starters, wasn’t surprised at how well he threw. Kaminsky scattered seven hits, three runs, a walk and had six strikeouts in six innings.
“He pitched some good games for us last year,” Mongiardo said. “He might have pitched the best game of the year when we beat Traverse City to clinch the division. He’s thrown some good games.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO: Lake Erie Crushers vs. Washington Wild Things
WHERE: All Pro Freight Stadium, Avon
PITCHERS: Rein (0-2, 6.35 ERA) vs. Zach LeBarron (0-0, 6 K, 6.48)
RADIO: WEOL 930-AM