AVON — Vermilion graduate Adam Beach shook off the butterflies, the nerves and the long wait between games to help Lake Erie get over the .500 hump for the first time this season.
Beach became the first Lorain County native to start and win a game at All-Pro Freight Stadium. It was a memorable start to his professional career in front of a number of friends, family and fans. Lake Erie improved to
25-24 with two more games with Frontier this weekend before the All-Star break.
The Crushers won a pair of seven-inning games, 2-1 and 7-2, over the Greys on Friday night in front of 3,221 fans — 1,535 of whom participated in a Guinness World Record.
The fact Beach got the start in the first place was a story onto itself.
“I came here two weeks ago and threw a bullpen (session),” he said. “But they didn’t ask me back. Then like a couple days ago they called and said, ‘Hey, do you want to come start?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ It’s everybody’s dream to play pro ball, so I can’t complain.”
Beach got off to a rough start — giving up a double to leadoff hitter Alvaro Ramirez and a home run down the left-field line to Justin Vasquez to put the Crushers in a 2-0 hole to start the second game.
“I had a little jitters, I’ll admit that, being in the home crowd,” Beach said. “But I felt good and settled in. I got in a rhythm.”
“That was the one thing I wasn’t worried about,” said pitching coach Chris Mongiardo, who recommended Beach after scouting him last year with the Lorain County Ironmen of the Prospect League. “Whether he gave up zero runs or five runs, I knew he wouldn’t crumble out there. After seeing him eight or nine times last year, that’s the one thing I knew about him and put my name on. He’s going to battle and get you through five (innings) somehow.”
Lake Erie answered Frontier with three runs of its own in the bottom of the first and Beach took things from there, striking out four and walking just one. The two hits he allowed in the first inning were the only ones he gave up.
“Getting down 2-0, that was a big boost,” said Jeff Isom, Lake Erie’s manager. “We’re not a team that comes from behind very well. Right away we took advantage of their pitcher that was wild. We took some walks to put us in position to take that lead.”
Lake Erie put up three runs in the first and fourth innings and added a single run in the third to give Beach some breathing room. Designated hitter Daniel Bowman and shortstop Juan Sanchez each had three hits.
“It’s nice to have defense like that behind you (zero errors), it’s hard to complain,” Beach said. “And when they put up seven runs, you should win every time.”
Lake Erie’s defense was very good. Right fielder Seth Granger took away what appeared to be a home run off the bat of Luis Parache in the second inning, and Sanchez made several nice plays at short on groundballs and popups to the outfield.
“He was all over the place,” Isom said of Sanchez. “Without him, it might have been a different story.”
The hour delay between games to set the Guinness dental flossing record had to affect Beach’s start, but he would have none of it. The Crushers counted 1,535 fans that participated in the event – using a giant piece of floss simultaneously — breaking the mark of 1,470.
“Everybody was having fun,” he said. “I didn’t want to ruin it.”
“He knows how to pitch and he used all his pitches,” Mongiardo said.
Lake Erie won the first game in an old-fashioned pitchers duel. Mickey Jannis got his first start of the year and turned in a gem — allowing just one unearned run in six innings. It was his fourth win of the season.
The Crushers scored a run in the first inning on Andrew Davis’ line-drive sacrifice fly that nearly cleared the bases had it not been for a nice grab by Justin Vasquez.
After the Greys scored in the fifth to tie the game, an infield single by Bowman was followed by Anderson Hildago’s double to left that scored Bowman from first. Dale Dickerson came on to nail down the win with his eighth save.
“We played with some energy,” said Isom. “That was the difference in the two sides.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at (440) 329-7135 or at firstname.lastname@example.org