August 1, 2014

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Frontier League: Crushers run into trouble, lose 7-5 to Greys in front of season-high 5,000 fans

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Crushers’ Craig Hertler slides into home plate. AMANDA K. RUNDLE/CHRONICLE

AVON — The up-and-down season of the Crushers took another downward dip Fright night as the Frontier Greys beat Lake Erie 7-5 in front of the largest crowd of the season. Fireworks Night on the holiday drew 5,060 to All Pro Freight Stadium.

Lake Erie (22-21) battled back from a six-run deficit, cutting Frontier’s lead to 6-5, but baserunning miscues cost Lake Erie with a runner caught off second on a ground ball and a pair of runners cut down at the plate on nice defensive plays.

“I took a gamble on the first one hoping to catch them off-guard, they made a good throw and he was out. That was on me,” Lake Erie manager Chris Mongiardo said of Adam Ford getting thrown out at home in the second inning. “The second one, even if I had held him up, we would have had two guys at third.”

Lake Erie starter Matt Rein (0-3) went the first six innings, allowing six earned runs and getting touched up twice by the long ball.

Rein gave up a leadoff single to Chris Ellison, followed by a two-run homer to Michael Vaughn to increase the lead to 3-0. Frank Florio hit a two-run moon shot over the Kid Zone in right field with two outs in the sixth inning as the Greys (11-32) took a 5-0 lead. It became 6-0 when Zach Tanner ripped a triple off the wall in left-center to drive in Jon Minucci, who had reached on a walk.

“I thought Matt was throwing the ball as well as he had all year,” Mongiardo said. “He had a couple bad pitches on the home runs basically. I thought stuff-wise, he was throwing pretty good.”

Just when it looked like the end of the road for Lake Erie, it cut the lead in half in its half of the sixth.

Craig Hertler worked a walk and came home on Emmanuel Quiles’ double to left-center. Two batters later, Vincent Mejia crushed a ball halfway up the hill in left field to cut the deficit to 6-3.

“Hitting is contagious, we just hope that we can all build off each other,” said Quiles, who went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .311. “When one guy starts hitting, hopefully everyone follows.”

The Crushers did follow in the seventh, loading the bases on an Evan Hutchinson double and walks to Joey Burney and Juan Sanchez. Hertler followed with a rocket off the right-field wall for a double, but it only netted one run as Burney was cut down at home on a two-bounce throw from right fielder Minucci.

“That ball that Hertler hit was almost too hard and Burney must have had a bad read on it and he went back to tag and it cost us a run right there,” Mongiardo said. “He (Minucci) got a clean hop off the wall and even if I would have held him it would have been a double play because we would have had two runners at third.”

Quiles drove home the Crushers’ final run of the inning with a ground ball to shortstop. Andrew Davis struck out against reliever Jared Liverett to end the inning.

The Greys added an insurance run to up the lead to 7-5 in the eighth when Vaughn walked and eventually scored on a Jordan McCoy wild pitch.

Lake Erie threatened in its final two chances, but a double play wiped out a potential rally in the eighth and Burney was stranded at second after a double in the ninth as Juan Sanchez struck out and Hertler flew out to center field.

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or jbrady_ct@yahoo.com.

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