ThunderBolts pull away for Opening Day win

CRESTWOOD, IL – A four-run rally in the fifth inning helped the ThunderBolts break open a 5-0 lead on their way to a 7-1 win over the Joliet Slammers at Ozinga Field Thursday night. After the canceled 2020 season, it was the Bolts’ first win in 635 days.

Tyler Thornton got the start for the Bolts (1-0) and racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts on his way to seven shutout innings.

His offense gave him the lead in the bottom of the second inning. With runners at the corners and one out, Jairus Richards hit a ground ball and beat the relay throw to first base, bringing home Rob Calabrese.

It was still 1-0 into the fifth when Windy City pulled away. They came up with five hits in the inning and were helped out by a Joliet error. Calabrese had the inning’s big hit, a two-out, two-run single. Jack Strunc also brought home a run on a base hit.

Richards added to the lead in the seventh inning with a two-run single. That gave the rookie three RBIs in his pro debut.

The Slammers (0-1) never threatened until the ninth, when a Lane Baremore sacrifice fly broke up the shutout and made the final 7-1.

Thornton (1-0) picked up the win, allowing just four hits, all singles, while Steve Moyers (0-1) allowed five runs over 4.2 innings and took the loss.

The four-game series with the Slammers will return to Crestwood on Saturday night, the first fireworks night of the year at Ozinga Field. But first, the two teams will take a detour to Joliet for the Slammers’ home opener at DuPage Medical Group Field Friday night. First pitch in Joliet is scheduled for 7:05 as Kenny Mathews makes his season debut for the ThunderBolts against the Slammers’ Bobby Milacki.

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