From staff reports
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — AVON, Ohio — Lake Erie's Anderson Hidalgo singled in Craig Hertler with one out in the 12th inning as the Crushers handed Traverse City a 3-2 loss Tuesday in the opening game of a series to decide the Frontier League's East Division.
Even with that loss, Traverse City clinched a playoff spot as Florence and River City both suffered losses earlier in the night.
Lake Erie rallied from a 2-0 deficit, pulling within a run in the bottom of the fifth, then sending the game into extra innings when Daniel Bowman scored in the bottom of the eighth off Beach Bums' closer Nick Capito.
The Crushers started their 12th inning when Hertler singled off Burny Mitchem. Hertler moved to second on a ground out and the Crushers loaded the bases as Bowman reached safely on an error and Russell Moldenhauer walked. Kyle Teague came in out of the bullpen to replace Mitchem, but Hidalgo connected on a 3-2 pitch that brought home the deciding run.
Mitchem (0-4) took the loss. He worked 2.1 innings, allowing one hit, two walks and striking out three. Johnny Omahen started for Traverse City and the Beach Bums helped him by taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Marcus Nidiffer got the first run after he tripled and scored on an error when Matt Howard singled. Howard came home one batter later when Scott Woodward ripped a ground rule double. Both of those runs came off Lake Erie starter Alex Kaminsky, who scattered four hits over seven innings. The next four Lake Erie hurlers kept Traverse City off the scoreboard, including Jordan Wellander (4-2), who worked the last two innings for Lake Erie.
Carlo Testa, who singled in the 10th, was the only Traverse City hitter to reach base in the extra innings.
Lake Erie (55-39) also clinched a berth in the playoffs and holds a one-game lead over the Beach Bums (54-40) with two games to play. Florence has a one-game edge over Gateway for the fourth and final postseason spot in the Frontier League. The Crushers can clinch the division title with a victory over Traverse City tonight.