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Joliet Slammers Frontier League Championship Celebration

(Joliet, IL) – The clinching game of the Frontier League Championship Series seemed like it never wanted to end.

Joliet and River City sat through a rain delay to start the game and a rain delay that lasted over two hours after the third inning.

In the end it was the Joliet Slammers who emerged as the 2011 Frontier League champions as they knocked off the River City Rascals by a final score of 6-5 on Sunday, September 18. Brad Netzel was named series MVP as he hit .300 in the series and drove in three of the biggest runs, including two Sunday night.

For the fourth straight game in the best-of-five series, River City struck first. “Captain” Jake Renshaw endured the lengthy rain delay after the third inning and pitched a scoreless fourth as well.

But the Rascals put a three spot on the board in the fifth. Danny Sawyer was hit by a pitch to start the frame. A wild pitch moved him to second and one out later Doug Sanders singled him to third. With two down, Chris McClendon doubled in both runners to put River City up 2-0. Logan Parker doubled in McClendon to make the score 3-0.

Just like they’d done all year, the comeback kids struck back immediately. In the bottom of the fifth Sean Estand and Trey Manz hit back-to-back singles. After failing to bunt the runners over, David Fox shrugged it off and singled in Estand to make the score 3-1. Josh Flores bunted his way to first and Netzel delivered a clutch two-RBI single against reliever Dustin Umberger to tie the game.

The Rascals chased Renshaw from the game in the sixth as Joash Brodin singled and Jareck West tripled him home. Renshaw finished the game going five plus innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and striking out three. Billy Petrick entered the game and got three huge outs to leave West stranded at third.

Trailing by one entering the seventh, the Slammers worked their magic again. With one out, Josh Flores bunted his way to first again. Then with two away Hector Pellot kept the inning alive with a single of his own. The Rascals brought Zach Robertson into the game and he was greeted by an Erik Lis double that tied the game. It would have given the Slammers the lead but Pellot slipped rounding third. It didn’t matter though as Pellot scored on a wild pitch to give Joliet the lead. Kyle Maunus singled in Lis for a big insurance run. Maunus was thrown out at second on the play but the damage was done.

Joliet native Ryan Quigley came in to wrap things up in the ninth. The inning was not without its drama as Doug Sanders walked to start the frame. A passed ball moved him to second and a wild pitch moved him to third. With two away, Logan Parker hit a slow chopper that Quigley gloved and threw to first. But Maunus dropped the ball and the Rascals were within one as Sanders scored. The Frontier League Relief Pitcher of the Year got the Frontier League MVP Stephen Holdren to ground out to Maunus to end the game and give Joliet the Frontier League Championship. Brian Smith picked up his second win of the playoffs out of the bullpen as he tossed an inning and a third of scoreless ball.

Joliet Slammers professional baseball was presented by ATI Physical Therapy all season long and the team’s run to the Frontier League title was brought to you by a number of generous sponsors including Velocita Technologies, Tom and Jan Quillman, Play Ball USA, and Harrah’s Joliet. The Herald-News and AM 1340 WJOL, the home of the Slammers, also were instrumental in the Slammers’ success in their inaugural season.

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