Frontier League

Bolts ride dramatic ninth-inning to third straight win

AVON, OH – Rob Weissheier hit a two-run single in the top of the ninth to cap a three-run inning and complete a comeback for the ThunderBolts as they beat the Lake Erie Crushers 6-5 in game three of a four-game series at Mercy Health Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The game went back and forth for nine innings. Payton Robertson began the contest with a triple and scored on Rob Calabrese’s sacrifice fly to put the Bolts (41-49) up first. But Lake Erie (39-50) tied the score at one on a bases loaded double play in the second.

Kenny Mathews struggled in the early innings, walking three batters in the first two frames. It was the first time in 27 starts that he walked more than two. He settled in, though, with four straight strikeouts, allowing the ThunderBolts to reclaim the lead. Nikola Vasic singled and scored on a balk to make it 2-1, but again Lake Erie responded. Karl Elleson’s solo homer evened the score at two.

This time, the Crushers kept the momentum, scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth to claim a 4-2 advantage.

Zac Taylor’s sacrifice fly in the eighth brought the Bolts to within a run but Karl Ellison came up big again for Lake Erie with an RBI single to provide a big insurance run.

The ThunderBolts trialed 5-3 in the ninth, facing Lake Erie’s start closer JT Perez. Donivan Williams led the inning off with a single and Vasic was hit by a pitch. Robertson singled home Williams and Calabrese was intentionally walked to load the bases. That’s when Weissheier came through with his base hit that put the Bolts up 6-5.

Garrett Christman (1-1) pitched three strong innings of relief for the win and Perez (1-5) took the loss. Brayden Bonner earned his fifth save. Lake Erie starter Ryan Feierabend, who retired after 18 seasons following the game, did not factor in the decision.

The series and the ThunderBolts’ road schedule concludes with game four on Monday afternoon. Logan Wiley (6-2, 2.85) gets the start for the Bolts against Lake Erie’s Sam Curtis (4-1, 3.15) with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 CDT. Links to the audio and video broadcasts can be found at wcthunderbolts.com.

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