FLORENCE, KY – The Bolts took a big lead and hung on in game one of a doubleheader Saturday night before losing their late lead in game two. Windy City beat the Florence Freedom 7-6 and lost 4-3.
The ThunderBolts broke out in front with a four-run second inning in game one. Chase Porch and Zach Aakhus each singled home two runs.
Stephen Shults answered with a solo homer in the bottom of the second, and Jimmy Baker’s RBI single in the third cut the Bolts’ lead to 4-2.
In the fourth inning, Windy City took a commanding five-run lead when, with Larry Pempek at third and Mike Torres at second, Devin Shepherd did something no ThunderBolt had done in 2011. He hit a home run, giving the Bolts a 7-2 lead.
Bryant Cotton struck out nine batters through five innings, but tired in the sixth, and allowed three runs to score, narrowing the gap to 7-5.
Kurt Frymier was called on for the seventh, but after he allowed a two-out run, Windy City turned to Blanks. With Chris Curley, who had just knocked in the sixth Florence run, on second base, Blanks got Rundle swinging on a 2-2 pitch to seal the win.
Cotton improved to 1-1 while Anthony Bello took the loss and fell to 0-1.
Game two was a great pitchers’ duel as Windy City’s Matt Jernstad and Florence’s Preston Vancil combined to allow just two hits through the first four innings.
Finally in the fifth, the Bolts cracked the scoreboard when Chris Wade extended hi hit streak to 20 games with a one-out single. Nick Kuroczko’s single put runners at the corners and Chase Porch knocked Wade in on a base hit.
They expanded their lead in the sixth. Mike Torres led off the inning with a single and Aakhus doubled him in. Aakhus then scored on a Ryan Basham single.
The Freedom came back again in game two. Shults hit his second home run of the doubleheader in the sixth. Then, with two on and two out, Junior Arrojo doubled to deep left center; Chris Curley scored, but Jonathan Cisneros was thrown out at the plate by Wade.
Then, in the seventh, Cole Miles bunted his way on and moved to second on a Torres throwing error. Juan Valdes bunted Miles to third and, with two outs, Jimmy Baker knocked him in to tie the game. The next batter, Stephen Shults appeared to send the game to extra innings with a pop up to right field, but JJ Sferra dropped the ball and pinch hitter Drew Rundle crossed the plate to deliver a 4-3 Florence win.
Austin Bridgewater pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the win (2-0) and Jernstad went the distance for the loss (2-2).
The final game of 2011 between the ThunderBolts and Freedom will be Sunday night at 5:05 CDT. Dustin Williams (3-1) will get the start for Windy City against Andy Clark (3-0). That game can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and wxav.com.