AVON — James Davison and Aaron Hill were busy setting the table for the Crushers on Wednesday.
The pair combined for four hits, four runs and three RBIs, sparking the Lake Erie offense in a 6-5 win against Washington at Sprenger Stadium. The Crushers are in position to sweep the Wild Things in the series finale tonight at 7:05.
The Crushers improved to 22-21, taking a one-game lead in the East Division thanks to Schaumburg (23-24) losing to Windy City. Washington fell to 19-28, five games behind Lake Erie.
“That’s my brother,” Davison said of Hill. “We do everything together. Having us one-two we always get excited when we see that in the lineup, so we try to do damage every time we get the chance.”
Davison got things started in the third with a liner into right, then stole second during Hill’s at-bat. Hill rewarded his effort with a double to left, tying the game at 1. He scored on Zach Racusin’s double two batters later to give Lake Erie a 2-1 lead.
Washington retook the lead with two in the fourth, but Davison and Hill set things right for the Crushers again in the fifth. Davison’s double tied the game at 3, scoring Brody Wofford from first.
Davison advanced to third on a wild pitch and Hill brought him home again with a liner to left. Lake Erie went on to send all nine batters to the plate and Hill scored when Dale Burdick was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
“Whenever (Davison) gets on base, ropes a double or a single, it makes me want to do the same thing,” Hill said. “It can be dangerous because when he does that sometimes I try to get too big, but he’s always making things happen and we roll with that.”
Crushers starter Jared Koenig labored into the fifth, giving up 10 hits and walking three with four strikeouts. He worked his way out of some deep trouble in the second — bases loaded and no outs — settling in to get two straight strikeouts and a foul-out.
He seemed to have carried the momentum into the third, retiring the first two batters, but Cody Erickson and Hector Roa delivered back-to-back liners into left. J.J. Fernandez brought Erickson home with a double.
“He by any means did not have his best stuff tonight,” Lake Erie manager Cam Roth said of Koenig. “For him to get out of a jam like that against a club that’s swinging the bat very well goes volumes for that young man. That’s what he’s done all year. It doesn’t matter if it’s bases loaded in the second, fifth or seventh, he’s going to bear down.”
Erickson wasn’t done, driving in runs in the fourth and the eighth — the latter cutting the Crushers lead to 6-5. Washington, however, was unable to capitalize further as Kent Hasler notched back-to-back strikeouts, leaving the tying run stranded on third.