Scott Sebald allows one run over seven strong innings in victory
FLORENCE, Ky– Scott Sebald delivered a quality-start and the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, outlasted the Lake Erie Crushers, 4-2, in game one of the Frontier League Divisional Round on Tuesday night at UC Health Stadium.
The Freedom (1-0) scored the first run of the game off lefty, Jared Koenig (0-1) in the bottom of the second, Ryan Rinsky rolling a fielder’s choice to third that saw a play at the plate go the way of the home team. Breaking on contact, Andre Mercurio slide in safely as the ball popped out of the tagging mitt of Bryan DeLaRosa behind the plate, Florence moving in front, 1-0, over Lake Erie (0-1). Adding to their advantage in the third, regular-season club leader in homers, Connor Crane, drove a big-fly off the scoreboard in left-center, his solo-shot off Koenig pushing the Freedom ahead by a pair. Later in the frame, Caleb Lopes and Mercurio came up with back-to-back doubles to score one more, the game becoming a three-run affair at, 3-0.
On the heels of six shut-out innings, the Crushers got to Sebald in the seventh, scoring one to close within two. With two outs, Dre Hubbard delivered an RBI-double to right-center, Zach Racusin crossing home before Hubbard was gunned down at third to end the inning.
Koenig would be relieved in the seventh, finishing his night having logged a quality-start. The lefty spanned six frames and allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and a pair of whiffs in defeat.
Sebald stepped aside after seven, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in his first victory of the postseason. Jared Cheek would toss the eighth, fanning the side in order.
Leading, 3-1, in the bottom of the eighth and facing right-handed reliever, Kent Hasler, Isaac Benard delivered one more run of insurance with a clutch two-out single up the middle. Mercurio, who reached base in all four at-bats and added two stolen bases, scored from second on the Benard knock, helping the Freedom to a, 4-1, advantage.
Closer, Karl Craige emerged for Florence in the ninth, and saw the bases get loaded with one out. DeLaRosa proceeded to lift a sacrifice-fly to right, scoring Logan Farrar who walked to lead-off the inning as the score moved to, 4-2, the eventual final. Swinging at the first pitch, Hubbard flew out to center to end the game, Lake Erie leaving the tying runs on base in the two-run Freedom victory.
The Divisional Round of the Frontier League playoffs will continue on Wednesday, Florence trotting out left-hander, Mike Castellani (9-2, 2.66) opposite southpaw, Patrick Ledet (6-4, 2.34) of the Crushers. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. EST at UC Health Stadium in Florence, Ky.
The Florence Freedom are members of the Independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at florencefreedom.com, or by phone at (859) 594-4487.