AVON — The gameday presentation wasn’t the only thing that was quiet in the Crushers’ 9-2 loss to Gateway at Sprenger Stadium on “Sensory Friendly” night.
On a night where everything was turned down, from public address announcer Scott Wylie’s player introductions to the walk-up music played as the hitters strode to the plate, Lake Erie’s bats cooperated by making as little noise as possible.
The Crushers had 10 hits, but were just 1-of-7 with runners in scoring position.
“You’ve just got to flush that one and go,” Crushers manager Cam Roth said of the loss. “There’s not too much you can really say. We had 10 hits and they had 13 … but they just found the holes.”
Crushers starter Sean Renzi, fighting through some arm issues, struggled to throw his curveball for strikes.
“I don’t think Renzi threw the ball particularly bad,” Roth said. “He’s still battling a little bicep tendinitis, which is why we pulled him after the fifth. He was just a little uncomfortable, the timing was just a little uncomfortable and his arm wasn’t working like it normally is.”
The Crushers (36-31) got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second when Joel McKeithan knocked in Nick Roark with a single up the middle.
Gateway took the lead in the top of the fourth on a solo home run and a Paul Russo RBI single to left.
The Grizzlies (29-40) added a run in the top of the eighth when the Crushers botched a rundown play. Artemis Kadkhodaian walked with one out and moved to third on Russo’s single to left. Russo rounded the bag too far and was caught in a rundown between first and second.
But as Lake Erie tried to tag Russo out, Kadkhodaian sprinted home, beating the throw from second baseman Aaron Hill.
The Grizzlies sent 10 men to the plate and scored six times in the top of the ninth to blow the game open.
The Crushers closed the scoring in the bottom of the ninth on Bryan De La Rosa’s RBI single.
Gateway starter Mike Elwood went seven innings, allowing six hits while walking three and striking out six. He allowed just one earned run and improved to 5-6.
“I thought Elwood threw the ball well for them,” Roth said. “It was a close game up until that eighth inning.”
The teams meet again this morning at 11:05. Roth said the early game can be a challenge.
“It depends on what the sky is going to look like,” Roth said. “Early games are always tough. Offense is not going to be predominant in those games. It’s just going to be who throws the ball better and who is going to put less numbers in that third column on the scoreboard.”
Former Crusher Sean Hurley, who the team released late last week, was claimed off waivers by the Normal CornBelters. Hurley passed his physical Tuesday and was added to the team’s roster prior to the CornBelters’ game at Washington.