NORMAL, IL – The Normal CornBelters scored four times in the second inning Friday night and never looked back, defeating the ThunderBolts 5-1 in The Corn Crib’s 2012 opener.
Dustin Williams started for the ThunderBolts and struggled with his command early, walking two batters, hitting one and throwing three wild pitches in the first two innings. The CornBelters capitalized in the second, scoring their first two runs on an Alvaro Ramirez base hit after Normal loaded the bases on a walk, hit batsman and an error. Sam Judah and Robert Brooks scored on the play. Bobby Rinard, who had reached on an error, crossed the plate on a wild pitch and Ramirez finished the scoring after Steven Felix knocked him in on a single.
Williams settled down after that, allowing just one hit over his final three innings. He went five innings total, allowing four runs and striking out seven.
ThunderBolts pitchers struck out 13 men total, but the offense never got going against Tyler Lavigne and two relievers.
The Bolts’ only run came in the sixth. Chris Wade led off with a single and Zach Aakhus followed that up with a single, but was thrown out at second on the play. Wade scored on a Chad Cregar groundout to cut the deficit to 4-1.
The last run was scored in the bottom of the seventh. Ramirez again did the damage, singling and scoring on a Steven Felix base hit.
Lavigne (1-0) went five shutout innings for the win and Williams (0-1) took the loss.
Game two will be played at The Corn Crib Saturday night with Mike Recchia making his ThunderBolts debut on the mound. He will be opposed by Normal newcomer Tyler Stovall. Gametime Saturday night will be 6:30 and the radio broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and WXAV.com.