AVON — Aaron Hill had the answer for Lake Erie in the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday against Washington.
The Wild Things had just scored three runs — two unearned off Crushers lefty starter Pat Ledet — when Hill capped a six-run rally with a three-run homer to lead Lake Erie to an 8-5 win in Frontier League play before 1,597 fans at Sprenger Stadium.
The win put the Crushers back at .500 and tied with Schaumburg atop the East Division.
“That whole inning it was a team aspect,” said Hill, who hit his sixth home run. “That was a great inning, finding holes, just finding a way to get on base. Everyone was just doing their job — next guy up.”
The Crushers were without manager Cam Roth, who spent the evening away from the field nursing a sore back. James Keller and the rest of the coaches took the reins.
“It was awesome,” Keller said. “Aaron with the big home run to left field. Guys just never gave up. They knew something was going to click eventually.”
Washington had scored its runs with just one solid hit — a ground-rule double by Hector Roa that drove in Cameron Baranek. An error on a ground ball to Dale Burdick at third had put two runners on in front of Roa. Two ground-ball outs brought in two more runs, but the Crushers bounced right back.
“Anytime they can answer right back for you will pick you up a little bit,” Ledet said.
John Cable drew a full-count walk to start the bottom of the fourth, Jake Vieth scorched a ground ball to second for a hit with one out and Burdick singled off the shortstop’s glove for a run.
Bryan DeLaRosa singled to load the bases and Brody Wofford drew another full-count walk in a great at-bat. Wofford fouled off two pitches before getting the walk to force home Vieth for the second run. James Davison sent a long sacrifice fly to right to bring in Burdick and set the stage for Hill.
“I don’t care too much where I hit in the order,” said Hill, who was pushed up into the second spot after spending much of the season at the bottom of the order. “I take the same approach every day no matter where I’m at. When there’s guys on base in scoring position, I just try to do my job and get the guys in.
“Being up in the top of the order, you get more at-bats. I knew as long as I’m seeing the ball well and putting the bat on the ball, good things will happen.”
Ledet was philosophical with the way things turned out. He turned in 7 2/3 quality innings, striking out five and walking one. He gave up four hits.
“It’s just how you have to look at it,” Ledet said. “They’re going to hit some hard, they’re going to hit some soft. Some will be outs, some will be line drives that score guys. I knew we were going to score. Our guys were on (John Havird) all night. You just trust them.”
“Ledet did an awesome job,” Keller said. “You can always count on him to give you everything he’s got.”
Lake Erie added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth when Vieth blasted a two-run homer to left to drive in Emmanuel Marrero, who walked to lead off the inning. It was Vieth’s fourth home run.
Hill also flashed some leather in the seventh, grabbing what looked to be a sure hit with a leaping catch.
“It’s always nice taking away hits, but the feeling I had hitting the home run was a little bit better,” Hill said with a smile. “I like to play well on both sides of the ball.”