Slammers Ride Hot Bats, Strong Pitching to First Win of 2020

by Staff Writer

July 18, 2020

by Jimmy Lynn



Joliet Slammers Contact:

Kaitlyn Altmann- Marketing and Promotions Manager



It was a humid Saturday in Joliet for the first afternoon game of the 2020 City of Champions Cup between the NERDS Herd and the Joliet Slammers. The 1:05pm game was the first leg of a Saturday doubleheader, preceding the 6:05pm exhibition between the Chicago Deep Dish and the Joliet Tully Monsters.

The starting pitcher for the NERDS Herd, Blake Marks, struggled with his command early, walking four batters in his brief three-inning outing. The Slammers capitalized on two second inning walks by Marks, with left fielder Zac Taylor hitting a sacrifice fly to score Andrew Shaps for the first run of the game.

The wheels came off for Marks in the third inning. After Joba Ferell walked to lead it off, second baseman Korry Howell smashed an opposite field double to the wall. Designated hitter Pat Adams followed with a double of his own, bringing in two runs. Shortstop Zach Kirtley then blasted a two-run moonshot over the wall in center field, giving the Slammers a 5-0 lead after three innings.

Jake McSteen, the starting pitcher for the Slammers, cruised early on, retiring nine batters in a row after giving up an infield single to Hayden Cantrelle to start the game. He got some help in the fourth inning from his third baseman, Matt McGarry, who made an incredible diving stop and then tagged Eric Peterson to keep the NERDS Herd off the board.

Bubby Rossman relieved Marks in the top of the fourth and pitched well for the NERDS Herd, striking out four in his two-inning appearance. Meanwhile, the NERDS Herd was able to cut their deficit to four runs with a solo home run by catcher Justin Kunz in the fifth inning. Aside from Kunz’s homer, McSteen had a great outing, compiling six strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball.

Caleb Murphy pitched a scoreless inning in the top of the sixth for the NERDS Herd and then was replaced on the mound by Thomas Cesharek. Cesharek was shaky throughout his 1.2 innings pitched: He walked four batters, made a throwing error and allowed a runner to score on a wild pitch. After a single by Walner Espinal to load the bases for the Slammers in the eighth inning, Christopher Vaughan hit a bases-clearing triple to increase the Slammers’ lead to 9-1. Ian Krol, a former Major League pitcher, came in for Cesharek and closed out the game cleanly for the NERDS Herd, retiring four consecutive batters with two strikeouts.

Christian Tripp came in for the Slammers after McSteen and pitched two scoreless innings, working around two walks and a hit batsman. He struck out three. Kyle Klosak took the mound in the bottom of the ninth for the Slammers and struck out the side to end the game and secure the Slammers win.

McSteen’s outing on the mound earned him the win, while the loss was assigned to Marks for his rough start. Other than the home run by Kunz and a 2-5 day at the plate for Cantrelle, the NERDS Herd’s offense was stifled by the pitching and defense of the Slammers. The final score was 9-1.

With today’s loss, the NERDS Herd’s record dropped to 0-2 on the young season. Meanwhile, the Slammers rode their hot bats and strong pitching to their first victory of the 2020 City of Champions Cup.

Merchants and Manufacturers Bank Player of the Game: Christopher Vaughan (1-1, 3B, 3 RBI)


 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