(CRESTWOOD, IL) – The ThunderBolts used a five-run seventh inning to take game one of the East Division series 5-1 over the Traverse City Beach Bums Thursday night at Standard Bank Stadium.
Game one was a classic pitchers’ duel through six. Dustin Williams did not allow a run until the sixth inning when JT Hall’s two-out single drove home Matt Brown.
Aside from that, Williams was almost unhittable, surrendering just six total singles in seven innings of work.
His counterpart, Enrique Lechuga shut down the Bolts before they finally got to him in the seventh. After collecting just four hits through six, they had six in the five-run rally. The inning began with a JT Restko single before Jeremy Hamilton grounded into a fielder’s choice. Mike Mooney shot a double off the left field wall to set up the tying run at third base.
That’s when things got interesting. Michael Torres and Nick Kuroczko laid down back-to-back squeeze bunts, each scoring a run. Both Torres and Kuroczko reached first when Traverse City failed to cover first base.
That chased Lechuga from the game, but it did not end the scoring. Gilberto Mejia knocked in both Torres and Kuroczko on a single and, after a stolen base, he scored when Ryan Basham’s infield single resulted in an overthrow and another run.
The Bolts faced one more hurdle in the eighth. With two on and nobody out, Greg Johnson was called on to replace Williams. He got both batters he faced out before Ryan Bollinger entered and walked Andrew Franco. With two outs and the tying run at the plate, Bollinger forced Jonathan Alia to pop out to end the threat. The Beach Bums stranded nine runners in the final four innings.
Williams (1-0) earned the win, while Lechuga (0-1) took the loss, allowing four earned runs in the seventh inning.
The series continues Friday night against the Traverse City Beach Bums at Standard Bank Stadium. Andrew Werner (11-5) takes the hill for Windy city against Traverse City’s Kevin Reese (10-9). The game begins at 7:05 and can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and wxav.com. Ticket information can be found on www.wcthunderbolts.com.