The Southern Illinois Miners had a 2-0 lead in the opening innings, but saw the River City Rascals take the lead away then pile on in the eighth thanks to two grand slam home runs by Josh Silver, ending the Miners’ season in a 9-5 loss at Rent One Park in Game Three of the Division Series.
With two outs and a runner at second in the first inning against Rascals starter Dane Stone, Frank Martinez stroked an RBI double down the right field line, scoring Craig Massey for a 1-0 Miners lead. Aaron Gates followed with an RBI single and the Miners had a two-run advantage. After Rick Teasley (0-1) held the Rascals’ offense down in the first two innings, a two-out RBI single by Johnny Morales got the visitors on the board in the third, making the score 2-1.
In the fourth, a fly ball to right was lost in the sun off the bat of Zach Kometani for a single, and another hit and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with one out. After the Miners decided to intentionally walk Josh Ludy when the first three pitches missed the zone, Silver hit Teasley’s first pitch over the left-center field wall for his first grand slam of the contest, erasing the Miners’ early lead and making it 5-2 Rascals.
Southern Illinois would respond in the bottom of the inning, as three hits, including a two-out RBI single by Brian Portelli, made it 5-3. It would remain 5-3 Rascals until the eighth inning, with Southern Illinois getting runners on base in the fifth and the seventh but stranding them. Against Miguel Ramirez in the top of the eighth inning, a leadoff walk and a single put runners at first and third with nobody out. A big strikeout was followed by another walk to load the bases. Ramirez then caught Ludy looking at strike three for a big second out, but Silver again came up and hit one over the left field wall for his second grand slam of the game, making the score 9-3.
The Miners scored single runs in the eighth and the ninth innings, but it was not enough as their season ended in the division series round for the second straight season. River City moves on to face Traverse City in the championship series beginning on Tuesday night.
Off a second straight division title and a 63-win season, the Miners will return to Frontier League action next year in 2016! Be sure to keep track of all the happenings with the team on Facebook, Twitter (@SIMiners) and on Instagram throughout the offseason.