Brandon Johnson launched a two-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Gateway Grizzlies downed the Windy City ThunderBolts 5-3.
Windy City manufactured the first run of the game in the third inning as with two outs, Damian Walcott walked. Dancing away from the bag, Walcott forced and errant throw by Grizzlies starter Mark Brackman, allowing Walcott to take second. Gilberto Mejia worked the count full before dropping a single in front of Joseph Scaperotta in rightfield for a single, scoring Walcott for a 1-0 Bolts lead. Gateway threatened in the bottom half of the inning, but Robert Perry came up with a perfect one hop throw to the plate to gun down Alex Kerins who was trying to score on a single by Scaperotta.
The Bolts would expand the lead in the fifth as Pete Paris led off with his first professional homerun, pushing the Windy City edge to 2-0. Gateway would take their first lead of the series in the bottom of the inning as with the bases loaded, Jereck West delivered a two-run single to tie the game. Two batters later, a wild pitch allowed Scaperotta to score, giving the Grizzlies a 3-2 advantage.
Gateway would keep the lead into the eighth when Wilson Matos led off the frame with a double. He remained on second two outs later when Gilberto Mejia came up and pulled a double into the rightfield corner, scoring Matos to tie the game at 3-3. The good vibes were shortlived as in the bottom of the inning, Brandon Johnson cranked his 11th homer of the season over the rightfield wall for a 5-3 Gateway lead.
Mark Brackman (4-7) got the win going eight strong innings allowing three runs on four hits. Matt Jernstad (3-4) took the loss, allowing the homerun to Johnson in the eighth.
Windy City now heads to Bosse Field in Evansville for a three game set against the Otters. Brandon Garner (2-3, 7.42) will take the mound for the ThunderBolts against Nick Utley (3-3, 5.26) for the Otters. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. with the pregame show beginning at 6:45 on 88.3 FM, WXAV. There is activity in Crestwood this weekend as the American Cancer Society Relay for Life will be held at Standard Bank Stadium August 1st starting at 2 p.m. For more information on Relay for Life visit www. www.relayforlife.org. For ThunderBolts information or tickets, call 708-489-BALL or visit the team’s website at www.wcthunderbolts.com
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