AVON — The Crushers used the long ball to complete a three-game sweep of West Division-leading Florence, homering three times in a 9-2 victory at Sprenger Stadium on Thursday night.
Aaron Hill led off the game with a blast to left before Dale Burdick hit one over the left-field wall in the bottom of the first. First baseman Jake Vieth blew the game open with a three-run home run that cleared the batter’s eye in center field in a four-run fourth.
Vieth, who drove in four runs in the game, said he was looking for a fastball, and didn’t miss it.
“It was one of those times where I saw the ball well and everything worked out perfectly,” Vieth said. “I was looking fastball, but with two strikes in the back of my mind I was thinking off-speed. He left it up and that was probably not where he wanted to put it.”
Hill blistered Florence pitching all series. He finished with eight hits in 11 at-bats with a pair of home runs in the
three-game set. He went 5-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, a stolen base and two RBIs on Thursday.
Hill, the Frontier League rookie of the year last season, could not remember his last five-hit game.
“Little League, I think,” he said. “I just didn’t try to do too much. As cliche as it is, I took it one pitch at a time and looked for a pitch I could hit and a pitch I could drive. For the most part it’s been working.”
Crushers manager Cam Roth said Hill’s big night was exactly what the team needed.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Roth said. “His first month of the season he was probably hitting .220. That’s not the kind of player he is. His character and his make-up are so impressive to me, going out there and grinding every day. It’s his character and his
make-up that allow him to take the month of hitting .220 and make the adjustment.”
Lake Erie starter Alex Romero allowed just one hit through four innings and the Crushers (30-24) staked him to a 6-0 lead. He lost his command in the fifth when he walked a pair and hit a batter, allowing the Freedom (37-21) to push two runs across.
“He’s an experienced pitcher. He’s our ace and we pay him to do what he did tonight,” Roth said of Romero, who allowed just two hits in six innings while walking four. “If you don’t have your A stuff, if you have your C stuff, you have to learn how to win with your C stuff. That’s something he’s done over his career and it showed tonight.”