09/11/2009 9:40 PM
The Windy City ThunderBolts playoffs, presented by the Vee Pak Hawks, saw Daniel Howard throw seven solid innings as the River City Rascals finished off a three game sweep of the ThunderBolts winning 6-2 on Friday.
River City will now take on the winner of the East Division series. Lake Erie leads Kalamazoo in that series 2-1. The Championship Series will start on September 16.
The Rascals got on the board in the top of the first inning on a Chad Maddox two-run homer. River City would put two more on in the frame, but the Bolts were able to get out of the jam as Ernie Banks was frozen on a pickoff attempt at second base and was gunned down going to third. After applying the tag on Banks, Gil Zayas fired the ball back to second to get Ryan Wehrle and end the inning.
River City would get two more in the third on a two-run single from Wehrle to take a 4-0 lead. Windy City would get on the board in the bottom of the frame as with the bases loaded, Guillermo Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Kraig Binick, slicing the lead to 4-1. The Rascals would score again in the fifth, however, as with two outs, Banks singled home Scott Houin to put the lead back at four.
The Bolts weren’t ready to declare their season over, however, as in the fifth, Gilberto Mejia came up with his second single of the game, this time scoring Damian Walcott to make it 5-2.
That was as close as it would get however, as Daniel Howard and Tony Marsala held Windy City off the board over the final four innings with Marsala going the final two outs for the save.
Howard (1-0) pitched seven strong innings allowing two runs on seven hits. Dustin Pease (0-2) took the loss. Ricky Meinhold was magnificent in relief for the ThunderBolts going four innings allowing an unearned run on three hits.
The ThunderBolts would like to thank all their fans and sponsors for a fantastic 2009 season. The ThunderBolts set an attendance record as 104,479 fans came through the turnstyles in just 47 openings between the regular season and the playoffs. For information on 2010 season tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call 708-489-BALL or visit the ThunderBolts website at www.wcthunderbolts.com
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