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 Gateway Grizzlies

Grizzlies Finish Regular Season with Series Win

September 3, 2023 - Frontier League (FL)
Gateway Grizzlies News Release

Sauget, IL - The Gateway Grizzlies came back from an early deficit with the long ball, hitting three home runs and putting up 13 hits offensively in an 8-4 victory over the Lake Erie Crushers at Grizzlies Ballpark, clinching the weekend series and concluding their regular season with a 59-37 overall record.

The Crushers got three straight hits off Parker Johnson to begin the ballgame in the first inning, including an RBI single by Jiandido Tromp to take a 1-0 lead. Josh Rego's RBI groundout made it 2-0, but it also kicked off a streak of 14 batters out of 16 retired by the rookie right-hander, during which the Grizzlies came back.

In the bottom of the third inning, Cole Brannen led off with a walk and Willie Estrada singled against Lake Erie starter Jonaiker Villalobos, and two batters later, Mark Vierling hit his fifth home run of the home stand, a three-run shot to right field that vaulted the Grizzlies in front 3-2. Two innings later against Shane Gustafson (0-1), Andrew Penner hit his first home run since July 25, making the score 4-2 on the solo shot.

Lake Erie then rallied to tie the score against Johnson in the sixth, with Sean Cheely lifting a double with the bases loaded and one out over first base to knot the score at 4-4. But Zac Treece (3-0) got the next two batters out to preserve the tie, and in the bottom of the sixth, Gateway would score four runs to take the lead for good. Vierling blooped a single into center field that got off Cheely's sliding glove attempt to make it 5-4, and was followed by Penner's three-run home run to complete the scoring at 8-4, giving the all-star his first career multi-homer game.

The Grizzlies now turn their attention to the playoffs. As West Division champions, they have earned a bye into the best-of-three Frontier League Division Series, which will begin on the road on Thursday, September 7, against the winner of the West Division Wild Card game between the Schaumburg Boomers and Evansville Otters taking place in Schaumburg on Tuesday, September 5.

They will then return to Grizzlies Ballpark for Game Two of the FLDS on Saturday, September 7, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. as Gateway enters the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and looks to make a run to their second Frontier League Championship. For playoff tickets, call (618) 337-3000, or go to

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