WASHINGTON, Pa (Sept. 12) – The Joliet Slammers topped the Washington Wild Things 3-1 in game two of the Frontier League Championship Series.
For the first two frames it seemed to be a pitching duel between Cunningham and Joliet starter Scot Hoffman. The Slammers opened up the scoring in the third on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Danny Zardon, scoring centerfielder London Lindley to put Joliet in front.
Joliet added on with another run in the fourth on another sacrifice fly, this one from short stop Chaz Meadows that scored second baseman Ridge Hoopii-Haslam. In the fifth, Zardon doubled to bring in an insurance run for the Slammers making it 3-0.
The Wild Things generated some offense in the bottom half of the fifth with a solo home run from third basemen Dom Iero. It was his second home run of the playoffs after hitting a similar shot last night. This would be Washington’s only run of the night after Iero narrowly missed a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth.
Washington and Joliet are back in action Friday for game three of the Championship Series. Joliet will have home-field advantage for games three and four of the series. Dillon Sunnafrank will take the mound for the Wild Things and be opposed by Joliet’s Liam O’Sullivan for game three first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. CST.
For the first time since 2008, the Washington Wild Things are in the Frontier League Championship Series. The team is making its third-overall appearance in the FLCS, with the two previous trips resulting in tough losses in 2002 and 2007. This season, Washington captured its first East Division Championship since 2007, and became the first team since River City in 2011 to have the league’s MVP and Pitcher of the Year in the same season, when center fielder James Harris was named MVP and left hander Thomas Dorminy was named Pitcher of the Year.
The Wild Things are here largely in part to the league’s highest run-scoring offense, which also finished in the top five in six other major offensive categories. Three Wild Things finished with batting averages in the top 20 of the league: Hector Roa (.309), James Harris (.305) and Roman Collins (.298). Four Things had four players hit 20 or more doubles. Four had double-digit home runs and five had 50 or more RBI. Only 26 players in the entire league can say that. The team also boasts one of the league’s best relief pitchers in two-time all-star Zach Strecker on top of having Dorminy and several other pitchers who have had successful seasons.
The Wild Things come to the FLCS off an FLDS sweep of the Evansville Otters. It was the first playoff series sweep in the League since 2015, when Traverse City defeated River City to win the title in the FLCS. The series win was Washington’s first playoff series win since 2007, when the Wild Things swept the Gateway Grizzlies to advance to the FLCS. Hector Roa, Carter McEachern, Roman Collins and Reydel Medina all had four hits in the FLDS against the Otters, while Roman Collins led the unit with five RBI. Hector Roa and McEachern both had three. Thomas Dorminy pitched game one at Bosse Field and allowed one unearned run over seven innings, while Chase Cunningham earned a quality start in game two and Michael Austin tossed six scoreless in game three with seven strikeouts. Strecker appeared in all three games and did not allow a run in three total innings of work.
Led by six All Stars and several others who played at that level, the Wild Things look to capture their first Frontier League Championship in their first ever playoff meeting with the Joliet Slammers, whom the Wild Things defeated seven times in 12 tries this season. In six games at Wild Things Park between the two teams this season, Washington was 4-2. In the six played at Route 66 Stadium, Washington was 3-3.
The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy will return to the Frontier League Championship for the first time since their inaugural 2011 championship season. In their first season the Slammers were able to capture the league championship by defeating the River City Rascals. It is ironic that this season it was the Rascals who the Slammers defeated to advance to the championship.
Great starting pitching, defense, and timely hitting are the keys to postseason success and that is exactly what Jeff Isom’s squad was able to accomplish this past week against the Rascals. After a heartbreaking loss in Game 1 the Slammers now had to take 3 of 4 with the final 3 games being on the road with weather causing some havoc along the way. Game two featured not one but two rain delays as Joliet evened up the series at one win a piece before heading down to Missouri.
Slammers’ third-basemen Danny Zardon provided the thump with 2 big home runs. A 2-run go-ahead home run in Game 4 to take the lead late and even the series and set up the decisive Game 5. Slammers had struck early for a 1-0 lead and their ace Liam O’Sullivan pitching a gem. In an elimination game every pitch and every play is critical. Zardon was able to take some weight off of his team’s backs by slugging a 3 run home run to make it 4-0 as the Slammers would tack on some more insurance and capture the series win to advance to the Championship Series.
When you see a team remain loose through the grind of a baseball season and the pressure of the postseason it starts at the top. Slammers’ manager Jeff Isom was given the Roger Hanners Award for Manager of the Year. Isom received this honor in 2016 as manager of Joliet as well as in 2002 as Manager of Washington. Isom wants his guys to be loose, come to him whenever they need to, and most of all have fun. The viral internet video of the “Baby Shark” dance has taken over the Slammers dugout as the Slammers and Slammers fans have come together for some fun antics. If you give to the game the game will give back to you and Isom has been able to supply the support and opportunity for these ballplayers to succeed.
The head-to-head against Washington this season has favored the East Division champion Wild Things who edged Joliet this season winning four of six. Washington pitching has held Slammers batters to just a .187 batting average, while Joliet pitchers posted a 3.83 ERA and held Washington batters to a .242 batting average. Joliet’s Justin Garcia has had great success against the Wild Things hitting .273 with four home runs and 9 runs batted in.
The Slammers look to gear up against the Wild Things who have been dominant all season long and their professional wrestling inspired energy has resulted in a “Glorious” season thus far. Joliet has remained consistent and put together a franchise best midseason 10 game winning streak to put them into the playoff picture. A energetic and red hot Slammers ballclub gears up for what should be a classic as Joliet looks to win their 2nd franchise Frontier League Championship.
The 2018 Frontier League Championship will open up with this best of 5 series kicks off on Tuesday at 6:05 CST at Wild Things Park in Washington, PA. The series will shift to Joliet for Game 3 at 7:05 pm CST and if necessary Game 4 on Saturday at 6:05 pm CST. If the series goes to a Game 5 that will be held on Monday in Washington at 6:05 pm CST.
O’FALLON, MO–In a game that saw both teams take no-hitters into the eighth inning, the Joliet Slammers emerged victorious over the River City Rascals on Saturday night at CarShield Field, winning Game 4 by a final score of 2-1. The win evened the series 2-2, setting up a decisive Game 5 tomorrow night. Danny Zardon’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth proved to be the winning hit for the Slammers.
With the game scoreless entering the bottom of the eighth, the Rascals drew back-to-back walks with one out. With two outs, Ransom LaLonde delivered the Rascals’ first and only hit of the night, a flare to right field to give the team a 1-0 lead. LJ Kalawaia led-off the top of the ninth with a base hit, just the second of the night for the Slammers, setting up Zardon’s dramatic, go-ahead blast to the left field bleachers off Rascals closer Cody Mincey (0-1). Slammers closer Isaac Sanchez (1-0) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, securing the win for Joliet and forcing the extra game.
Rascals starter Hector Hernandez was absolutely brilliant, allowing just a single baserunner in six no-hit innings. He retired the last 16 hitters he faced in order after issuing a two-out walk to Zardon in the first inning, striking out seven on the night. Jason Zgardowski and Joe Iorio pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, respectively, for River City, with the Slammers not recording their first hit until a one-out single from Chaz Meadows in the eighth inning.
Slammers starter Nathan Antone was equally electric, pitching 7 1/3 no-hit innings, allowing two walks and striking out ten in his first professional start. He excited after allowing a one-out walk to Paul Kronenfeld in the eighth, with Kronenfeld eventually coming into score. Sanchez pitched the final 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
The Rascals and Slammers face-off in a do-or-die Game 5 tomorrow night, with the winner advancing to the Frontier League Championship Series to take on the Washington Wild Things. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm CT. Jonny Oritz will make the start for the Rascals.
O’FALLON, MO–The River City Rascals emerged victorious in a blowout 16-3 win over the Joliet Slammers in Game 3 of their divisional series matchup on Saturday, in a game that was suspended with two outs in the bottom of the third inning on Friday night due to rain. The Rascals were ahead 8-0 at the time play was suspended, and picked up right where they left off when play resumed on Saturday. The win gives the Rascals a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five series.
The Rascals scored eight runs in the third inning, sending 14 total batters to the plate. They drew five walks in the frame, three of them with the bases loaded. They got a two-run single from Zach Lavy and a run-scoring single from Kevin Suarez in the frame as well.
The Rascals added four runs in the fourth, on a pair of two-run home runs from Lavy and JD Hearn. Suarez drove in another run in the fifth, on a single, and they scored an additional run in the frame on an RBI groundout from Ransom LaLonde. After a Trevor Achenbach lead-off triple in the sixth, he came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Clint Freeman. Achenbach added a solo home run in the eighth.
Lavy finished with four hits and four RBIs, and both Achenbach and Martinez finished with three hits. Every hitter in the Rascals starting lineup reached base at least twice.
Trenton Hill gave the Slammers their first hit with his solo home run in the fifth inning, and LJ Kalawaia added a homer of his own in the ninth.
Rascals starter Dan Ludwig did not allow a hit through three innings, but did not start the fourth after the game resumed. He only allowed one baserunner, on a walk to Chaz Meadows, who was caught stealing to end the top of the third. Ryan Orr (1-0) picked up the win, going four innings and allowing just the home run to Hill.
Slammers starter Scot Hoffman (0-1) took the loss, allowing three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
The Rascals will took to finish off the Slammers in Game 4, with a scheduled first pitch of 6:35pm on Saturday.
JOLIET, IL–The River City Rascals came just short of taking a 2-0 series lead on Wednesday night at Route 66 Stadium, dropping Game 2 of their Frontier League Division Series matchup with the Joliet Slammers by a score of 5-4, in a game that featured two rain delays. The best-of-five series is now even at 1-1.
The Slammers struck first offensively. After a lead-off walk to Justin Garcia and a hit by Ridge Hoopii-Haslem to start the bottom of the second, both runners moved up on a ground ball to third. Chaz Meadows drove in Garcia with an RBI groundout, and Hoopii-Haslem scored on a wild pitch. They added a third run in the third inning on a triple from Travis Bolin and an RBI fielder’s choice from LJ Kalawaia.
The Rascals scored their first run on a Paul Kronenfeld RBI single in the top of the sixth, and tied the game 3-3 after both Ransom LaLonde and Kevin Suarez scored on a dropped pop-up to first by Trenton Hill with two outs in the seventh. After a brief rain delay, Trevor Achenbach, who reached base on the error, stole second base and scored on a Clint Freeman RBI single, giving the Rascals the 4-3 lead.
The Slammers tied the game 4-4 with an RBI groundout from Hoopii-Haslem in the eighth and regained the lead on an RBI single from Hill later in the frame. LaLonde reached on a second error by Hill to lead-off the top of the ninth, and following a single from Kevin Suarez, both runners were moved into scoring position on a bunt from JD Hearn, when play was halted for a second time for a rain delay.
When play resumed, Slammers pitcher Isaac Sanchez, who started the inning and stayed in after the hour delay, walked Achenbach to load the bases, but retired the next two hitters in order to earn the save. Joliet reliever Nathan Antone (1-0) earned the win, and Rascals reliever Joe Iorio (0-1) took the loss.
Rascals starter Jonny Ortiz allowed three runs in three innings, and reliever Dalton Roach pitched three scoreless, allowing only a single baserunner on a hit-by-pitch.
Slammers starter Daren Osby allowed just one run in six innings, at one point retiring 12 straight hitters.
The series now shifts to O’Fallon, MO. After an off-day on Thursday, Game 3 will be played at CarShield Field, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm CT. Dan Ludwig will get the start for the Rascals, and will be opposed by Scot Hoffman of the Slammers.
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Florence’s Justine Krieg
Gateway’s Paul Baillargeon
Joliet’s Adam Jomant
River City’s Scott Neer
JOLIET, IL–The River City Rascals capped off a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Joliet Slammers with a go-ahead home run from Mike Jurgella in the top of the ninth inning of Game 1 of their Frontier League Division Series matchup on Tuesday night at Route 66 Stadium. The game was a tight, well-defended pitcher’s duel throughout, but the Rascals came out on top when the dust settled after the playoff opener.
The Slammers got off to a good start, getting three hits in the first inning, including an RBI single from Justin Garcia. That was their only run of the night, however, as the Rascals tied the game in the fifth after a lead-off triple from Kevin Suarez and a sacrifice fly from JD Hearn. They took their first lead of the game on Jurgella’s shot to right to lead-off the ninth. Cody Mincey retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, striking out two, to seal the win.
Hector Hernandez was brilliant for the Rascals, allowing just one run in 6 2/3 innings, striking out six without issuing a walk. Jason Zgardowski (1-0) took the win, going 1 1/3 innings and allowing just a single baserunner.
Slammers pitcher Liam O’Sullivan (0-1) took the hard-luck loss, allowing two runs in eight innings of work. He walked one and struck out five.
The Rascals look to take the commanding 2-0 series lead over the Slammers in Game 2 of the series tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm CT. Jonny Ortiz will get the start for the Rascals, and will be opposed by rookie Daren Osby for Joliet.
The top seeded Washington WildThings (54-42) winner of the East Division will be taking on the second wildcard Evansville Otters (51-45) out of the West Division. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Tuesday from Bosse Field. Playoff passes, picnics, group tickets and single-game tickets are available now by calling 812-435-8686 or visiting the Bosse Field box office.
Evansville is heading into the Frontier League’s postseason as a wild card team and as the fourth seed, joining the Washington Wild Things, Joliet Slammers and River City Rascals in the four-team playoff. The Otters were able to clinch their playoff berth on Saturday with a 4-2 win over the Normal Cornbelters, solidifying Evansville’s third consecutive postseason appearance and fourth in the last five years.
Evansville’s Ryan Long was recognized last week with a postseason All-Star selection at third base. Long hit .292 with a team-leading 12 home runs while driving in 55 runs. Travis Harrison and David Cronin also have solid offensive numbers heading into the postseason. To finish the regular season, Harrison has reached base in 18 consecutive games. Harrison batted .302 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs. Cronin is hitting .296 with 37 RBIs, 57 runs scored and 49 walks to open the postseason. Cronin also has started in all 76 games he has played in.
Evansville will hand the ball to Randy Wynne in game one of the best-of-five series. Wynne went 9-9 with a 3.55 ERA in the regular season, making 19 starts in a total of 23 games played. Wynne pitched in 134.1 innings, striking out 114 batters and walking only 16 along the way, and tossed four complete games during the season.
For the first time since 2006-07, the Washington Wild Things are in the Frontier League playoffs for a second-consecutive season. The team is making its ninth-overall appearance in the postseason, as it made it each of its first six seasons after joining the league in 2002. Washington has captured its first East Division Championship since 2007, and became the first team since River City in 2011 to have the league’s MVP and Pitcher of the Year in the same season, when center fielder James Harris was named MVP and left hander Thomas Dorminy was named Pitcher of the Year.
The Wild Things are here largely in part to the league’s highest run-scoring offense, which also finished in the top five in six other major offensive categories. Three Wild Things finished with batting averages in the top 20 of the league: Hector Roa (.309), James Harris (.305) and Roman Collins (.298). Four Things had four players hit 20 or more doubles. Four had double-digit home runs and five had 50 or more RBI. Only 26 players in the entire league can say that. The team also boasts one of the league’s best relief pitchers in two-time all-star Zach Strecker on top of having Dorminy and several other pitchers who have had successful seasons. Led by six All Stars and several others who played at that level, the Wild Things look to capture their first Frontier League Championship this season.
SAUGET, Ill. – River City Rascals infielder Trevor Achenbach and starting pitcher Dan Ludwig were named Frontier League Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively as chosen by Pointstreak, the official statistical provider of the Frontier League and the Independent Professional Baseball Federation.
Trevor Achenbach earned his first weekly honors in the Frontier League by helping lead River City to a 4-2 record over the last six games and clinch the West Division Title. Achenbach hit .500 while collecting 11 hits, five doubles, two home runs, and seven runs batted in.
Prior to joining River City, Achenbach spent time with the British Columbia Bombers of the California Winter League where he appeared in 16 games and batted .314 with three doubles, a triple, a run batted to go along with seven walks and four stolen bases. The Oklahoma Wesleyan University alum appeared in 58 games in 2018 and hit .327 over 205 at bats. Achenbach also collected 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 36 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases.
Dan Ludwig earned his second weekly honors in the Frontier League, also won on July 23, 2017, by pitching the Rascals to two wins in his two starts. Ludwig went 13.0 innings over those two starts and collected nine strikeouts while allowing only 1 earn run (0.69 ERA).
Ludwig joined River City in 2016 after spending the beginning of season with the Southern Illinois Miners. The Belmont University alum went 5-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 2018 while starting 16 games and pitching 84.1 innings and striking out 63. Ludwig a Naperville, Illinois native has a 23-11 record in his career while compiling 322 innings pitched and 232 strike outs over his four-year career.
Pointstreak provides the league with its statistical software and in game scoring applications. They aim to deliver “fast scores and cool stats to players, parents, fans, scouts and media.” For more information on Pointstreak products visit them at www.poinstreaksolutions.com or www.pointstreak.com.
The Frontier League is entering its 26th season in 2018 and features 12 teams stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to Northern Michigan. The Frontier League annually advances the most players to MLB organizations of any of the independent leagues, and 35 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues.
O’FALLON, MO–The River City Rascals clinched the Frontier League West Division championship on Sunday night at CarShield Field, beating the Florence Freedom 9-0 in the regular season finale. Dan Ludwig (5-4) threw seven shutout innings in on three days rest, allowing just two hits, one walk, and striking out three. Braxton Martinez drove in four runs for the Rascals in the victory.
Zach Lavy put the Rascals on the board with an RBI single in the fourth inning, and Paul Kronenfeld made it 2-0 on his hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth. Kevin Suarez‘s RBI groundout made it 3-0. The Rascals scored four in the seventh, on a two-run single from Martinez, with two more runs scoring on a Freedom error. Martinez hit another two-run single in the eighth to bring the lead to 9-0.
Jackson Sigman and Chad Gendron pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, in relief of Ludwig to close out the victoy. Mike Jurgella reached base five times, on three walks and two hits.
Steve Hagen (7-8) took the loss for the Freedom, allowing three runs in six innings.
The Rascals (52-44) begin their playoff series against the Joliet Slammers on Tuesday night at Route 66 Stadium in Joliet, IL with a start time TBA.