Lidge Homer Completes Dogs Comeback Victory
By Jack Ankony, The Chicago Dogs
It would be hard to guess the score of the game given a close-up shot of the Dogs’ dugout.
A level-headed mentality is employed throughout the veteran-led clubhouse, which doesn’t allow its players to get too high or too low in any situation. This culture was vital in the Dogs’ afternoon contest with the Houston Apollos on Sunday when facing a 4-0 deficit after the game’s first three outs.
“Nobody on the team is panicking at all,” Grant Kay said. “It’s just always loose and we’re having fun out there.”
The Dogs rarely change their approach mid-game based on the score, and this trust paid off in a big way on Sunday. Trailing 4-1 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Michael Crouse didn’t panic either.
Crouse patiently waited as the first two pitches of his at-bat popped the catcher’s mitt outside of the zone. But when Ian Codina hung a breaking ball in the zone, Crouse attacked the pitch with all his might, driving the ball over the fence in the left-center field alley.
This three-run home run tied the game and proved to be one of the biggest hits at Impact Field in 2021. Ryan Lidge followed Crouse’s lead in the eighth inning and cranked his third home run of the season to give the Dogs a 6-4 victory over Houston.
As Kay snagged a lineout to secure the win in the top of the ninth, the Dogs made it four wins in a row including a series sweep over the Apollos. Kay said he was able to get a read on many Houston swings on Sunday, which resulted in a couple of game-changing catches.
“On defense I’m really just trying to steal hits from these players and trying to do my best,” Kay said.
Kay went 3-for-4 on Sunday and did his job turning over the Dogs’ lineup as the nine-hitter. The Dogs second baseman has recently worked on slowing down at the plate as he focuses on not swinging too hard. This allowed Kay to be relaxed at the dish, even when the Dogs trailed for the majority of the game.
After allowing four runs in the first inning, Dogs starter AJ Jones settled in nicely and allowed two hits and zero runs over the following 4.2 innings. Another shutdown night from the Dogs’ bullpen made a comeback possible, as John Baker earned the win with 1.2 scoreless innings to end the game.
The Dogs will play a make-up game against the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Monday before heading to Milwaukee for a three-game series with the division-leading Milkmen. For Kay, each win is as important as the last no matter the opponent. And as the Dogs approach a battle for first place with the Milkmen, the same level-headed approach they used today will be necessary.
“Everybody just needs to be ready and have good at-bats,” Kay said. “Pitchers need to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters. I think we’re going to be just fine.”