JOLIET, IL–The River City Rascals came just short of taking a 2-0 series lead on Wednesday night at Route 66 Stadium, dropping Game 2 of their Frontier League Division Series matchup with the Joliet Slammers by a score of 5-4, in a game that featured two rain delays. The best-of-five series is now even at 1-1.
The Slammers struck first offensively. After a lead-off walk to Justin Garcia and a hit by Ridge Hoopii-Haslem to start the bottom of the second, both runners moved up on a ground ball to third. Chaz Meadows drove in Garcia with an RBI groundout, and Hoopii-Haslem scored on a wild pitch. They added a third run in the third inning on a triple from Travis Bolin and an RBI fielder’s choice from LJ Kalawaia.
The Rascals scored their first run on a Paul Kronenfeld RBI single in the top of the sixth, and tied the game 3-3 after both Ransom LaLonde and Kevin Suarez scored on a dropped pop-up to first by Trenton Hill with two outs in the seventh. After a brief rain delay, Trevor Achenbach, who reached base on the error, stole second base and scored on a Clint Freeman RBI single, giving the Rascals the 4-3 lead.
The Slammers tied the game 4-4 with an RBI groundout from Hoopii-Haslem in the eighth and regained the lead on an RBI single from Hill later in the frame. LaLonde reached on a second error by Hill to lead-off the top of the ninth, and following a single from Kevin Suarez, both runners were moved into scoring position on a bunt from JD Hearn, when play was halted for a second time for a rain delay.
When play resumed, Slammers pitcher Isaac Sanchez, who started the inning and stayed in after the hour delay, walked Achenbach to load the bases, but retired the next two hitters in order to earn the save. Joliet reliever Nathan Antone (1-0) earned the win, and Rascals reliever Joe Iorio (0-1) took the loss.
Rascals starter Jonny Ortiz allowed three runs in three innings, and reliever Dalton Roach pitched three scoreless, allowing only a single baserunner on a hit-by-pitch.
Slammers starter Daren Osby allowed just one run in six innings, at one point retiring 12 straight hitters.
The series now shifts to O’Fallon, MO. After an off-day on Thursday, Game 3 will be played at CarShield Field, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm CT. Dan Ludwig will get the start for the Rascals, and will be opposed by Scot Hoffman of the Slammers.