Connor Crane belts eventual game winning homer in fifth
O’FALLON, Mo– Connor Crane crushed a fifth inning solo-homer and the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, held on to win, 3-2, over the River City Rascals in Game 4 of the Frontier League Championship Series on Saturday night at CarShield Field. In victory, the Freedom force a winner take all Game 5 at UC Health Stadium in Florence, Ky on Monday night.
River City (2-2) started the scoring in the bottom of the second, touching Freedom (2-2) left-hander, Mike Castellani (2-1) for one-run to take a, 1-0, edge into the third. Zach Lavy earned the RBI, dropping a single to center that plated Trevor Achenbach who reached via a walk to start the frame.
Florence stormed in front in the top of the fourth, coming up with three straight, two-out singles off Brendan Feldmann (2-1) that saw the visitors take a, 2-1, advantage. Andre Mercuiro came up with the first, and scored on an ensuing single to left-center from Isaac Benard, L.J. Kalwaia fumbling the ball in center as the score stalemated at one. With Benard at second after the error, Trevor Craport laced a one-bagger of his own to center field, Kalawaia throwing up the third base line as Benard scored the go ahead run.
Trailing, 2-1, in the home side of the fourth, Kalawaia launched a solo-homer to right-center to even the score again at two apiece. Kalawaia would record three hits in the Rascals loss.
Crane delivered a quick answer in the top of the fifth, unloading on his third homer of the postseason, and second in as many nights, way back to left-center off Feldmann as Florence took the, 3-2, lead they would not relinquish.
Feldmann would step asidie after six innings, allowing three runs, two earned on seven hits with one walk and ten whiffs in defeat.
Castellani would span seven two-run innings on three days rest, stepping up to deliver a quality-start with the Freedom season on the line. The crafty lefty struck out two and walked one, scattering six hits and two runs over his seven frames on the way to victory. Florence closer, Karl Craigie earned the save, going the final two innings and tallying three strikeouts. The save is number four of the postseason for Craigie, Florence totaling five saves in five wins this postseason.
The Freedom win sets up a winner take-all Game 5 of the Frontier League Championship Series on Monday night at UC Health Stadium in Florence. The Freedom will trot-out left-hander, Scott Sebald (2-0, 1.39) opposite a TBD starter for the Rascals, with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. ET.
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.