AVON — One might say Lake Erie walked to its sixth straight win Friday night.
The Crushers defeated Washington 7-6 in front of 3,433 fans to remain two games up on Schaumburg in the Eastern Division of the Frontier League.
They drew eight walks in the first two innings to build a 4-0 lead and held off the Wild Things to improve to 31-24 with 13 wins in their last 15 games.
Aaron Hill, who was 5-for-5 Thursday, walked to start the game. He walked again in the second inning and singled in the sixth — scoring all three times.
Hill has reached base in eight of his last 10 at-bats and even his outs were well-hit — two long fly balls to right.
Washington starter A.J. Bogucki couldn’t find the plate in his two-plus innings, walking the first four hitters he faced to give the Crushers a 1-0 lead. Steven Kraft’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
Lake Erie scored two more in the second with just one hit — Emmanuel Marrero’s double that drove in Bryan De La Rosa. Hill scored on Zach Rucusin’s sacrifice fly.
The Crushers extended the lead to 6-1 with in the third. Brody Wofford led off with a home run to right, his second of the season. Kraft walked and Jake Vieth drove him in with a double to center. De La Rosa drew another walk, ending Bogucki’s night.
“When you have guys locked in like Aaron Hill, like a Marrero, even Brody Wofford and Rucusin and (Dale) Burdick … OBP (on-base percentage), they’re going to be at the top of the list all the time,” said Crushers manager Cameron Roth. “You look at the scoreboard and we score four runs and we have one hit. They’re doing a good job of not expanding the zone and getting overanxious.”
Lake Erie starter Jared Koenig sailed through the first three innings although Washington scored in the third on a pair of hits and a hit batter. Koenig struck out six in a row at one point.
The 90-degree heat and extended innings due to the walks might have hurt Koenig. He threw 112 pitches through six innings, walking two and striking out eight. He gave up seven hits and four runs.
“It’s nice getting run support,” Koenig said. “We’ve been hitting well and have had good at-bats. Those couple innings were a little different. I kind of felt I lost my rhythm for a bit but I found it the last two innings and overall was pretty happy with it.”
“I thought he did a good job pitching with the lead,” Roth said. “You have to remember this guy has pitched in professional baseball but according to classification he’s a Rookie-1 (Frontier League). He’s learning and he’s done a great job so far.”
It was Koenig’s fourth win in as many decisions for the Crushers.
Lake Erie added what proved to be the winning run in the sixth inning. Hill led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch to push the lead to 7-4.
Hector Roa’s two-run homer with one out in the top of the ninth made things interesting but Kent Hasler retired J.J. Fernandez on a grounder to Vieth at first and then struck out Cody Erickson to finish the game.