CRESTWOOD, IL – Chris Chigas allowed just one hit over seven innings in his first professional start as the ThunderBolts won their fourth straight game, 7-1 over the Traverse City Beach Bums at Standard Bank Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
Traverse City (1-4) starter Rob Blanc had control problems early in the game and the ThunderBolts (5-1) took advantage. After Corey Bass walked and Ransom LaLonde was hit by a pitch in the second inning, Cody Keefer singled to load the bases. Taylor Smart doubled home the first two runs and advanced Keefer to third. He scored on a Kevin Barker groundout. Smart crossed the plate on Coco Johnson’s sacrifice fly, making the score 4-0.
Blanc departed after two innings, but the Bolts got to reliever James Ball in the third. Keefer and Smart each singled with two outs before Kevin Barker hit a flyball to right field that Jeff DeBlieux couldn’t handle. Two runs scored on the three base error and Barker came home on a Johnson single to give the ThunderBolts a 7-0 lead.
Despite all the early offense, the story of the game was Chigas. He retired the first ten batters of the game and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. After the Beach Bums put runners at second and third in the fifth inning, Chigas set down the last eight men he faced and exited without having allowed a run.
Brett Maus pitched the last two frames and the Beach Bums finally got on the board with a two-out RBI single from Will Kengor in the ninth.
Chigas improved to 1-0 with the victory and Blanc took the loss, falling to 0-1.
The ThunderBolts have Thursday off before heading back out on the road on Friday night to take on the Schaumburg Boomers. Brady Muller (0-1, 9.00) will get the start for the Bolts against Schaumburg’s Scott Schultz (0-0, 12.46). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.