Slammers Hold On Late Against NERDS Herd, Win Fifth Straight 10-9

by Staff Writer


Joliet Slammers Contact:

Kaitlyn Altmann- Marketing and Promotions Manager


By Jimmy Lynn

JOLIET, IL — The second weekend of the 2020 City of Champions Cup continued on Sunday with an afternoon matchup between the first-place Joliet Slammers and the third-place NERDS Herd. The sizzling Slammers were pursuing their fifth consecutive win, while the NERDS Herd was looking to raise its record above .500 for the first time with a victory. 

Right fielder Noah Vaughan put the Slammers on the scoreboard early, clobbering a solo home run off of NERDS Herd starter Blake Marks in the top of the first inning. The NERDS Herd responded in the bottom of the frame: Shortstop Hayden Cantrelle singled to lead it off, third baseman Brylie Ware was hit by a pitch, and left fielder Ryan Stacy hit a grounder through the infield to score Cantrelle. The Slammers second baseman Bruce Martin then dropped a throw from shortstop Walner Espinal on a double play opportunity, allowing Ware to score.

The NERDS Herd’s bats stayed hot in the second inning. Catcher Justin Kunz’s single and second baseman Matt McGarry’s double put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Kunz then scored on a Cantrelle grounder to first, narrowly beating Tyler Plantier’s throw home. Ware followed with an RBI single to center field, although Cantrelle was gunned out at home by Slammers center fielder Nicolas Horvath trying to score on the same play. After just two innings, the NERDS Herd led the Slammers 4-1.

The NERDS Herd pushed another run across in the third inning as Slammers starter Ryan Koziol struggled to find his groove. He walked second baseman Eric Peterson to lead off the inning. Peterson stole second and later scored on center fielder Ashton Creal’s sacrifice fly.

Designated hitter Zach Kirtley continued his red-hot start to the season for the Slammers. In the top of the fourth inning, Kirtley hit a towering fly ball that barely cleared the left field wall for his fourth home run of the young season. The two-run shot halved the Slammers deficit, making the score 5-3 after four innings.

Marks labored on the mound for the NERDS Herd in the fifth inning as he allowed the first three batters to reach base on a walk, single and hit batsman. He was then replaced by Tom Cheshareck, who gave up a bases-clearing single to Slammers third baseman Mitch Glasser on his first offering of the afternoon. The runs were attributed to Marks, who pitched four innings and allowed six earned runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out six. Meanwhile, the Slammers took the lead, 6-5.

Kyle Klosak relieved Koziol on the mound for the Slammers in the fifth inning. Koziol battled all throughout his start, allowing nine hits and four earned runs in four innings, but he still gave his team a chance to win in an offense-heavy game. He struck out three. 

Creal singled, Kunz doubled, and McGarry walked against Klosak to begin the fifth inning, loading the bases. Cantrelle then grounded into a double play, scoring Creal to tie the game up at six runs apiece.

Jon Nunnally replaced Cheshareck on the mound for the NERDS Herd in the sixth inning. He walked the leadoff batter Brian Parreira, and Korry Howell reached first after a botched fielder’s choice attempt by the NERDS Herd. Glasser then belted another big hit—this time, a double to the center field wall—plating two more runs for the Slammers. After six innings, the Slammers led 8-6 thanks to Glasser’s 5 RBIs in a two-inning span.

The Slammers continued to pile on runs in the seventh inning against NERDS Herd reliever Caleb Murphy. Murphy put a runner on first after making an error while covering first base on a ground ball. Then, substitute first baseman Jordan Procyshen hammered a two-run home run to right field, increasing the Slammers lead to four runs. Murphy settled down after the homer, retiring the next three batters with two strikeouts. 

Meanwhile, Klosak pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh inning for the Slammers. His relief performance earned him the win, allowing only one run in three innings against a NERDS Herd lineup that appeared to be firing on all cylinders early. Ian Krol pitched a clean eighth inning for the NERDS Herd, retiring all three batters he faced with a pair of strikeouts.

Mario Samuel, a returning Slammer from the 2019 season, took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning to try to close the game out for the Slammers. (The ninth inning would not be played due to the time limit.) Samuel was wild, hitting two batters, and left fielder Jacob Crum dropped a fly ball in the gap to load the bases up for the NERDS Herd. Samuel was only able to record two outs before he was replaced by Christian Tripp on the mound. Tripp walked his first three batters faced, walking in three runs and allowing the NERDS Herd to come within one run of the Slammers. In dramatic fashion, Tripp struck out Cantrelle to end the game and secure a narrow 10-9 Slammers victory.

With today’s victory, the Slammers improved to 5-1 on the season, while the NERDS Herd dropped to 2-3. The NERDS Herd recorded 12 hits to the Slammers’ six, but left a staggering 13 runners on base. The Slammers, on the other hand, made their hits count, blasting three home runs in the afternoon exhibition. Klosak was rewarded with the win for his three relief innings in which he allowed one earned run on three hits and two walks. Nunnally was tagged with the loss for his one inning outing in which he allowed two earned runs on one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. The NERDS Herd will look to get back into the win column Tuesday night against the Chicago Deep Dish, while the Slammers hope to maintain their winning ways Thursday night against the Tully Monsters.

Box Score Recap:

Slammers - 10 runs, 6 hits, 2 errors, 6 runners left on base.

NERDS Herd - 9 runs, 12 hits, 2 errors, 13 runners left on base.

WP - Kyle Klosak (1-0)

LP - Jon Nunnally (0-2)

Tonight’s Merchants and Manufacturers Bank Player of the Game: Mitch Glasser (2-5, 2B, 5 RBI, K)

About the Joliet Slammers: The Joliet Slammers play at DuPage Medical Group Field in downtown Joliet, Illinois. They will play their 10th season in 2020. Visit the Slammers online at or call the office at 815-722-2287 for more information. Don’t forget to “Like” the Slammers on Facebook at or follow them on Twitter at @jolietslammers and Instagram at @jolietslammersofficial. 

-- Joliet Slammers