Doug Coe drilled a three run homerun in the top of the ninth to send the Windy City ThunderBolts to a 7-7 tie in game two of their exhibition doubleheader against the Rockford RiverHawks.
The ThunderBolts held on for a 5-5 tie in game one.
In the first game, Windy City struck early with a Vinnie Scarduzio sac fly in the second inning to go up 1-0. It would remain that way until the sixth when Rockford tallied three runs to take a 3-1 advantage.
Windy City battled back right away in the top of the seventh off RiverHawks reliever Roy Bringelson. After Nate Hall reached on an error, the ThunderBolts pounded out four hits in a row starting with a single from Doug Coe and a double from Tony Lewis, the latter scoring Hall to cut the lead to 3-2. With runners on second and third, Guillermo Martinez singled through the right side scoring both Coe and Lewis to lift the Bolts to a 4-3 lead. Nick Damas then doubled, moving Martinez to third. Jeff King came up and hit a grounder to short, scoring Martinez for a 5-3 Windy City advantage.
The lead was shortlived, however, as in the bottom of the seventh, the ThunderBolts surrendered a pair of unearned runs, enabling Rockford to tie the game at five. In the eighth, WC saw the RiverHawks load up the bases with one out, but some strong pitching from Adam Dominick got the ThunderBolts out of the jam with a groundout and a strikeout. Neither team threatened in the ninth, resulting in the 5-5 tie.
In game two, Windy City used some wildness from Rockford starter Brett Durand to take a 3-0 lead after two innings while recording just two hits. Durand walked a pair of batters, hit another and threw two wild pitches, aiding the ThunderBolts cause.
After the hot start, the game was once again quiet until the middle innings. Rockford scored single runs in the third and fifth top cut the Windy City lead to 3-2. The RiverHawks seemed to put the game to rest, scoring four runs in the sixth inning and an insurance run in the seventh to go up 7-3.
The ThunderBolts would not be denied however. Nate McKeon led off the inning with a ringing double into left-center field. Danny Sawyer followed with a walk. A Nate Hall groundout put the runners on second and third. Following a strikeout, J. T. Restko singled, scoring McKeon and cutting the lead to 7-4. Still, not going down without a fight, Doug Coe brought the ThunderBolts all the way back with a towering homerun to left-center, clanking off the scoreboard, tying the game at 7-7.
Windy City saw some very nice pitching performances in their final preseason tuneup. Matt Jernstad pitched three solid innings giving up just one unearned run while striking out five. Tyler Kelsey also looked strong, giving up just one hit in three innings to start game two. Shane Zegarac pitched two perfect innings to start things off in game one, striking out three along the way.
The two-time defending Frontier League Champion ThunderBolts will open will kick of their title defense on May 21 against the Rockford RiverHawks. The 2008 team will receive their championship rings in a pregame ceremony. Tickets are still available for the opener by stopping by Standand Bank Stadium between 8-5 any Monday through Friday or by logging on to the ThunderBolts website at www.wcthunderbolts.com. For more information, contact the team at 708-489-BALL or visit them on the web at www.wcthunderbolts.com.
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