The Windy City ThunderBolts offense stole the show in the first Charity Classic at Standard Bank Stadium, pounding out 17 hits to topple the Midwest Sliders, 13-6. Proceeds from the Friday night exhibition will benefit Park Lawn School and Sertoma Center.
Every ThunderBolts starter hit safely in the game; every starter but first baseman Philip Hawke scored a run. Not to be outdone, Hawke went 3-for-5 with four RBI including a two-run double to cap off a four-run seventh inning rally that put the game out of the visitors' reach. Fellow 2007 returnee Mike Coles added a single, double and triple and three runs scored in four at-bats.
It was the Sliders, however, who seized early leads of 2-0 and 3-1 against 'Bolts starter Ross Stout. The righthander allowed two earned runs on five hits in four innings as he readied for Wednesday's Opening Day start at Evansville.
Don Erdall followed with two hitless and scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn the victory. Subsequent relievers Desmond Jones and Ron Madej each gave up a run in an inning of work. Ace closer Matt Petty fanned two while allowing an unearned run in the ninth.
Once Midwest starter Jeremy Dow exited after four fine innings of one-run work, the ThunderBolts batsmen leapt on the Midwest Sliders' relievers and erased any memories of the early deficit. Loser Jeff Livek was touched up for two runs in the fifth and four more on the sixth, climaxing with Coles' two-run triple.
In the seventh, southpaw Drew Bigda loaded the bases with none out before a run-scoring fielding error by third baseman Robert Hitchens and a sacrifice fly from Wes Long set the stage for Hawke's resounding two-run opposite-field two-bagger.
Robert Matlock's RBI single in the eighth and Scott Billak's RBI double in the ninth capped off the scoring.
The game lasted three hours and three minutes, ending at 12:26 a.m. CST.
Windy City plays another exhibition game at Rockford on Saturday before finalizing the 2008 Opening Day roster and officially introducing the players and coaching staff at Blarney Stone Pub on Cicero Avenue in Oak Forest as part of a Meet & Greet Session from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, May 19.