The Gateway Grizzlies became the first team in the Frontier League to clinch a spot in the playoffs in 2023, as despite an extra-inning 5-2 loss to the Windy City ThunderBolts on Wednesday night, they locked up their first postseason appearance since 2012 thanks to the Joliet Slammers’ loss at Evansville.
The historic moment looked like it would come with a victory attached, as Gateway scored two runs in the fifth to break up a scoreless pitcher’s duel on a D.J. Stewart solo home run, then a single by Jairus Richards followed by two stolen bases and a throwing error. The lead stayed intact until the bottom of the eighth, when Bren Spillane singled home Paul Coumoulos to make it 2-1. In the ninth, Josh Lucas surrendered a leadoff solo home run to Peyton Isaacson to make it 2-2.
The Grizzlies had a chance to walk it off in the bottom half when Andrew Penner led off with a double for his 114th hit of the season, breaking a tie with Frontier League hall-of-famer Charlie Lisk and setting a new Grizzlies hits record for a single campaign. But Gateway could not score the winning run, and in the tenth inning, the ThunderBolts scored three times, including twice on a two-out double by Isaacson, to take the lead at 5-2, while the Grizzlies went quietly in the bottom of the tenth to seal the loss.
The defeat spoiled a stellar outing from Lukas Veinbergs, who tossed six shutout innings with seven strikeouts, allowing only two hits on the night. It was also the first time Gateway dropped an extra-inning contest this season (2-1).
Gateway will look to win the series in a crucial rubber game on Thursday, August 24, at 6:45 p.m. CT. Parker Johnson will make the start for the Grizzlies against Windy City southpaw Adrien Reese as Gateway celebrates Retro Night by wearing retro uniforms, with $5 tickets and $2 hot dogs at the concession stand. They will also honor the 20th anniversary of their 2003 Frontier League Championship team by bringing back several members of that team, along with manager Danny Cox.
Jason Guerette is the Grizzlies' Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations and the "Voice of the Grizzlies." 2023 will be his second season with the organization, handling lead broadcasting duties on the Grizzlies Media Network as well as being in charge of all team press releases and game-day media materials.
2023 will also be Jason's ninth season in the Frontier League after spending 2014-21 in the same role with the Southern Illinois Miners. Overall, he has broadcasted close to 800 games in the league, including playoffs. During the baseball offseason, he serves as a play-by-play broadcaster for Manhattan College and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, with games being seen on ESPN+ among other platforms.
In addition to broadcasting, Jason works as a public address announcer for Seton Hall University women's basketball as well as Columbia University men's and women's basketball. He also spent nine years working "behind the scenes" as a freelance board operator and highlight editor at Westwood One for their coverage of the NFL, NCAA football, and NCAA basketball.
Jason graduated from Seton Hall in 2012 with B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Broadcasting & Visual Media.