JOLIET, Il. (Sept. 15) – With their backs against the walls and the season on the line, the Washington Wild Things escaped Joliet with a series-evening 2-1 victory in game four, forcing a decisive game five in the Frontier League Championship Series Monday night in Washington. The difference was the arms of Dillon Sunnafrank, Jesus Balaguer and Zach Strecker, as well as a two-run, sixth-inning single by Hector Roa, as Washington held on to win in the low-scoring affair.
Sunnafrank allowed only two hits in six innings of work and change, as he walked the first batter of the seventh before being lifted from the game. The former Wheeling Jesuit Cardinal struck out four and walked three on his way to his first postseason win in what was his first postseason appearance as a professional.
One of the two hits Sunnafrank allowed was a second-inning double by Joliet catcher Brian Parreira that plated right fielder Travis Bolin. The scoring would cease until Roa’s two-run single in the sixth, as he flared a slider from Corey Kimber to right field with two outs to give the Wild Things the 2-1 lead they wouldn’t let up in game four. The single came after Washington had runners on second and third with nobody out, due to a lead-off walk to third baseman Dom Iero and an error that allowed James Harris to reach and go to second. The next two Washington hitters were set down before the difference-making hit.
Jesus Balaguer inherited the tying run at second with nobody out in the seventh, but was able to retire all six he faced, including two strikeouts, as the Things maintained a 2-1 lead. Strecker came on and allowed the winning run to reach for the Slammers before a double play ended the game, sending the series back to Washington.
Game five, weather permitting, will be played Monday night, September 17 at 7:05 p.m. in Washington, Pennsylvania. Tickets are $5 to sit anywhere in the park and kids 12 years of age and younger get in and eat for free.
Thomas Dorminy will pitch for Washington. Joliet has not named its starter yet. The winner of Monday’s game wins the 2018 Frontier League Championship.