CRESTWOOD -- The Windy City ThunderBolts (26-25) were defeated by the Southern Illinois Miners (28-24) 8-6 on Friday night at Standard Bank Stadium in front of 3,004 fans in the first game since the All-Star break.
The ThunderBolts were done in by allowing two runs in the top of the ninth inning after Jason Lowey (1-1) walked the bases loaded with one out. Matt Petty came in to try and keep the Miners off the board, but allowed a single and a squeeze bunt to give Southern Illinois the lead.
The other big blow of the contest came in the Miners' sixth inning when the 'Bolts made three errors with two outs and the bases empty in the inning to hand Southern Illinois three runs to give them a 6-5 lead. All three tallies were unearned and came without the benefit of a hit.
The 'Bolts came back in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 6-6 with a RBI-single from Wes Long to score Chris Klepps from second base with two outs.
The game had an exciting beginning as Windy City tied the game at 2-2 on the first two pitches when Scott Billak and Mike Coles hit back-to-back homers in the first inning. It was the first of two home runs Billak hit on the day. The second bomb started the scoring in a three-run third inning for the ThunderBolts.
Ross Stout started the game for WIndy City looking for his sixth consecutive win, but the error-filled sixth inning prevented the victory. Stout lasted 5.2 innings giving up three earned runs on seven hits while striking out two.
Griffin Baily (4-2) took the win in relief for Southern Illinois pitching the final 2.0 innings giving up just one hit while striking out three.
Windy City will play Southern Illinois again tomorrow at 7:05 at Standard Bank Stadium. It will be a special day for the ThunderBolts as a seat in the ballpark will be dedicated to veterans of the military. Purple Hearts veterans painted the seat, donated by the ThunderBolts, with material taken from every major battlefield throughout American history, including Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, and sand from the current conflict in Iraq on Monday. The seat will be prominently displayed in the ballpark and donations can be made to help wounded veterans adjust to civilian life.
The Gold Seat is a symbol to all of those fallen, lost, or were prisoners of war in battle in American wars throughout the country’s history. Just as all of those fallen during service have an empty seat saved for them in their unit’s mess halls, this seat will be saved for them so they will always have a seat at the ballpark, according to Pat McCauley, a Chicago firefighter and retired Marine who now serves with the Air National Guard.
"Our fallen will always have a seat from which to watch a game," Pat McCauley said. "We are grateful to Standard Bank for allowing us to put this seat in."
Proceeds and donations will go to the Col. Joseph McCarthy Foundation who will be donating to the Walter Reed Hospital, Brooks Medical Center, and Gold Star families (military families of killed-in-action servicemen and women).
Before the game, the FDNY Chaplin will lead the opening prayer along with military representatives of each branch of service. All of the branches of the military will take part in the dedication of the seat. The Gold Star families will unveil the seat, thus dedicating a permanent seat of prominence so that our fallen veterans will always have a place to watch a game.
Also, the first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive Fan Clappers courtesy of Chicago Event Graphics.
Players of the ThunderBolts will be wearing camouflage jerseys during the game and a silent, jersey-off-the-back auction will be held throughout the game for fans to bid on those game-worn jerseys. The players will then give their jerseys to the winners of the auction.
Finally, there will be a post-game fireworks show to honor those fallen heroes in the military.
For tickets and more information visit the ticket office at Standard Bank Stadium or participating Standard Bank branches. Also, be sure to check back at www.wcthunderbolts.com for more information on this event.