Dustin Crenshaw Silences Thunderheads in 10-1 St. Paul Saints Victory
For the first time in the 2015 season the St. Paul Saints had to respond after a loss. The Saints had opened the season with a four-game sweep of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, before heading for a nine-day Texas tour. Their first stop was Amarillo, where the Thunderheads dominated in an 8-3 win in the first game of their series. This was the first opportunity for manager George Tsamis to get a feel for how his club would handle failure. Needless to say, he has to be feeling pretty good about it.
The Saints opened with three runs in both the first and second innings to jump out to a 6-o lead on route to a 10-1 win. On the way the Saints got seven outstanding innings from starting pitcher Dustin Crenshaw, and three hits and three RBI from second baseman Sam Maus. It was an all-around formidable night from all aspects of the team.
While the Saints were excelling in all aspects of the game, Amarillo was struggling in all phases. That was especially true defensively, where the Thunderheads made four errors in the first two innings of the game. This played a key role in the Saints getting such a huge early lead.
The Saints jumped out in front against Clayton Tanner with three runs in the first inning. Alonzo Harris led off with a double, and scored when Sam Maus singled. Willie Argo grounded a ball to the Amarillo third baseman who booted it, allowing both runners to reach base. Super slugger Ian Gac stepped to the plate and singled on the first pitch from Tanner to score Maus. That made it 2-0. Three batters later Joey Paciorek drove in his first run of the season to extend the lead to three. His single scored Argo making it 3-0.
In the top of the second, Harris reached first on a throwing error by third baseman Taylor Smart and Maus reached on an error by the shortstop to put two runners on with just one out. Argo lined a single into center field that score Harris. An error by the center fielder brought home Maus and moved Argo to third. A ground out by Gac scored Argo to make it 6-0.
In the bottom of the second the Thunderheads plated their only run against Crenshaw. Jason Martin singled and moved to second on a single. Juan Martinez followed with a hit that scored Martin and Amarillo was on the board.
The score would remain 6-1 for the next four innings as both pitchers held their opponent off the scoreboard. In the top of the sixth Richard Barrett relieved for Amarillo. Steve Nikorak walked and stole second. Two batters later Harris singled scoring Nikorak to make it 7-1.
In the eighth the St. Paul Saints scored two more runs, and they added another in the ninth to give the visitors a 10-1 lead. Every player in the St. Paul lineup had at least one hit. The top three hitters in the club’s lineup were especially impressive, going 6-17 with 7 RBI and 4 RBI.
Crenshaw (2-0) pitched very impressively through seven innings. He even loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh before retiring the final batter of the inning on a strike out. The right-hander allowed 6 hits and a run, while striking out 4 for his second win of the season. The outing lowered his ERA to 1.39. Tanner (0-1) took the loss.
By Robert Pannier