Crouse, Smith Slug Dogs to Victory over RedHawks
By Jack Ankony, The Chicago Dogs
It’s always a good feeling to end a road trip with a win, especially after losing the first two games by a combined score of 28-5.
The Dogs erased the sour taste present during the beginning of the series by warming up the bats early and often on Wednesday. After scoring a run in each of the first two innings, Johnny Adams found a gap in the infield to score Michael Crouse in the third.
Danny Mars cleared the bases in the next at-bat with a triple down the first-base line and later came in to score on a wild pitch to give the Dogs a 4-0 lead. The Dogs jumped out to an early lead and didn’t look back, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks by a score of 11-7.
This quick start provided a cushion for the Dogs, but Michael Crouse delivered the knockout punch in the fifth inning with a mammoth home run. Crouse waited back on an off-speed pitch and belted it over the batter’s eye in center field for a two-run home run, giving the Dogs a 10-2 lead.
Six Dogs finished with multi-hit games while Crouse, Adams and Mars each drove in two runs. Mars was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle, and Crouse hit his second home run in as many games.
While the highlights came from the Dogs’ explosive bats on Wednesday night, the length Brendan Smith and Jeff Kinley provided out of the bullpen made them the unsung heroes. In the first two games of the series, the Dogs bullpen was taxed for 10.2 combined innings.
On Wednesday, Garrett Christman pitched 4.1 innings and allowed seven hits, six earned runs, two walks and two strikeouts. With a heavily-used Dogs bullpen through the first two games, Brendan Smith was the first to be called on.
Smith, a new addition to the Dogs, pitched 2.1 innings and allowed two hits and one earned run while walking two and striking out two. The reliable lefty Jeff Kinley replaced Smith and tossed 2.1 shutout innings, striking out two batters and allowing just one hit.
Smith and Kinley’s effectiveness and length out of the bullpen was huge for the Dogs in a series where it was all hands on deck from the bullpen. The duo gave a day of rest to the remaining relievers as the Dogs head back to Impact Field with a series against the Kane County Cougars looming.
Jake Dahlberg will take the mound for game one against the Cougars on Thirsty Thursday at Impact Field with first pitch at 6:05 p.m.