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It was only one bad inning, but it was enough to undo the other eight.

Actually, it wasn’t even an entire inning. It was a five-batter stretch in the top of the sixth inning that sent the Wild Things to a 3-2 loss to the Lake Erie Crushers on Saturday night.

It is Washington’s seventh loss in nine games to start the season and their league-high fourth loss by one run.

"Just another one-run loss," Washington manager Gregg langbehn said. "We did just enough to lose. We didn't have many opportunities. When we did, we didn't cash in."

Lake Erie did all of its scoring in the sixth inning, erasing a 2-0 Washington lead by stringing together four consecutive hits followed by a sacrifice fly.

Washington starter Nick Wegmann (0-2) took a two-hit shutout into the sixth. Lake Erie shortstop Emmanuel Marrero, who had four hits Friday night, led off the inning with a single and moved up a base on Dale Burdick’s single.

Jake Veith, the Crushers’ cleanup hitter, followed with a double to deep right centerfield that scored Marrero with the Crushers’ first run and moved Burdick to third base.

That was all for Wegmann, who was replaced by relief pitcher James Meeker, who gave up an RBI single to Zach Racusin on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. The hit by Racusin, who was in spring training with the Wild Things last year, drove in Burdick and tied the score.

Steven Kraft then put Lake Erie up 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to right field.

"Our offense is starting to click," Roth said. "We're close. There are still some things we have to get better at. We're not there yet."

Crushers starter Pat Ledet (1-0), who was released by Windy City earlier this month and signed by Lake Erie, went eight strong innings. The lefty allowed four hits and one walk. He struck out seven. Kent Hasler pitched the ninth inning for a save.

“I had never seen (Ledet) before we signed him,” Lake Erie manager Cam Roth said. “He did a phenomenal job. He wasn’t stressed with his pitch count.”

Washington scored first, getting a two-run homer to left field by cleanup hitter J.J. Fernandez. It was Fernandez’s first home run of the season and scored Blake Adams, who led off the inning with a walk.

The Wild Things had only three hits after Fernandez’s home run. Catcher Lucas Herbert had a two-out single in the seventh. Shortstop Brett Marr led off the eighth with a single and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Cox and a groundout by Adams but was stranded at third base when Saige Jenco bounced out to second base.

Hasler gave up a one-walk to Fernandez and a single to Hector Roa in the ninth but Kraft, the Lake Erie left fielder, made a terrific diving catch near the foul line to rob Herbert of extra bases. Kraft began the game in right field but was moved to left in the seventh inning.

“We’re not making enough good pitches and we’re not getting hits when they’re needed. That’s a bad combination,” Langbehn said. “The energy is there but the confidence is not up.”

Notes

Frontier League commissioner Bill Lee was in attendance and presented the Wild Things with a Commissioner’s Excellence Award for becoming the fourth franchise in the Frontier League’s 27-year history to draw 2 million fans. Washington reached the 2-million mark for its 18 seasons during Friday night’s home opener that drew 1,875. … Shaine Hughes, who went 5-for-5 for the Wild Things on Friday night, tied the franchise record for hits in a game. It has been done seven other times, most recently by Andrew Heck against Windy City in 2015.

Sports Editor

Since 1986, Chris Dugan has been covering local sports for the Observer-Reporter, and named sports editor in 2006. Before joining the O-R, he was sports editor at the Democrat-Messenger, and a former member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

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