Florence wins final home series of season

G. Michael Graham
G. Michael Graham
Mike Graham covers sports for LINK nky

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The Florence Y’alls wanted a strong showing in their final home series of the season and did not disappoint, taking 2-of-3 from the Schaumburg Boomers to win their first series since sweeping Windy City in early August.

“We’re not giving up any at-bats. We’re not laying down,” said Chad Rhoades, Florence Manager. “We know where we’re at, but that doesn’t change anything for those younger guys trying to prove why the deserve to be here and the type of baseball we want to play moving forward. Especially the past couple days, we played in this series the way we needed to play. We played clean, played smart. We grinded those pitchers out.”

Florence (38-55) erupted for a 12-3 win on Tuesday to open the series. The Y’alls outhit the Boomers, 16-10. Right fielder Hank Zeisler and catcher Nick Wimmers had three hits each with one double. Wimmers batted in four and Zeisler scored twice and drove in one.

Designated hitter Brennan Price had two doubles with third baseman Brian Fuentes, first baseman Craig Massey, second baseman Harrison DiNicola and shortstop Ed Johnson had two hits each. Fuentes homered and drove in two with DiNicola doubling and scoring three times. Johnson also doubled and center fielder Ray Zuberer walked three times and scored three runs.

Starter Bobby Brabrand (5-10) earned the win for Florence striking out six and walking one in seven innings. Christian Cosby pitched the last two innings striking out two and walking none.

“I feel that sometimes if it’s a big lead as opposed to a small one, guys will go in with a different mentality,” Cosby said. “But I try to keep the same game plan – get ahead early. I gave up three hits, but it was good. I got some work in. It always helps when you have a little cushion. But I honestly try to pretend it’s a tie ballgame every time I’m out there, keep the goal. You try to prevent any sort of difference in performance.”

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Edgar Martinez (8-9) then had his best start in a while holding down the Boomers (53-39) until Florence exploded for five in the bottom of the eighth to pull away for an 8-1 win Wednesday. Martinez struck out six, walked five and allowed just two hits and one earned run in seven innings pitched before Kent Klyman and Nick Ernst pitched one scoreless inning each to finish the game.

“We weighted (Schaumburg reliever Daiveyon Whittle) out,” Rhoades said. “We saw he couldn’t get his off-speed over. We were passing the sticks to each other. I thought we made some good reads running the bases. You saw how contagious that hitting was. It was really good to see.”

Florence outhit Schaumburg, 13-2. Zeisler led the Y’alls going 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and scored three runs. Price, Fuentes and Massey had two hits each. Fuentes had a home run, double, three RBI and scored once with Price doubling twice to go with two RBI and two runs scored.

“To good teams like Schaumburg, once that lead gets big, it really minimizes their offense,” Zeisler said. “It lets our pitchers and takes the pressure off hitters as well because each guy is trying to have a good at-bat. You put together a few, good things happen.”

The Y’alls did commit two errors to one for the Boomers. But Florence scored the game’s lone unearned run.

Florence had the chance for the sweep Thursday leading 4-2 after seven innings. But the bullpen could not finish the job as Schaumburg scored four in the top of the eighth and one in the ninth to win 7-4.

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Schaumburg outhit Florence, 14-5 as no one had more than one hit for the Y’alls. But Florence had three of them in the bottom of the sixth. Zuberer doubled in Massey to put Florence up 2-1 before second baseman Jeremiah Burks singled home catcher Zade Richardson and Zuberer scored on a fielder’s choice to give Florence that 4-2 lead.

Ross Thompson started for Florence pitching four innings, striking out two, walking none and allowing eighth hits. Carter Poiry pitched three scoreless innings in relief striking out two and walking one. Brian McKenna (2-4) took the loss pitching the eighth as Schaumburg scored two unearned runs off the lone error of the game and Aaron Rund pitched the ninth.

Florence concludes the season at Joliet (43-50) starting Friday at 7:35 p.m.

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