The Joliet Slammers and Washington Wild Things both went 54-42 during the regular season to tie for first place in the Frontier League’s East Division.
But Washington edged Joliet, 7-5, in the season series, which allowed it to not only win the division title, but also assure it of the top seed throughout the playoffs. That certainly has paid off for it in the most important series of all, the league championship.
After Washington rallied to win Game 4 by a 2-1 score Saturday in Joliet, the decisive fifth game is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Monday at Wild Things Park in Washington, Pennsylvania. Due to Tropical Storm Florence, Washington is forecast to have rain throughout much of Monday evening, so the game could be delayed or postponed.
Of the first four games, two were decided by a run, while the other two were two-run games. Joliet has outscored Washington, 11-9, and other than the Slammers’ five runs in
Game 3, no one has scored more than three runs in any of the championship series games.
“It’s been an awesome run, and it’s going to come down to our last game,” Slammers manager Jeff Isom said.
Joliet is hoping to win its second Frontier League championship, with its first coming during its inaugural 2011 season.
Washington is trying to avoid dropping a third league championship series. In their first year as the Wild Things in 2002, during which Isom was their manager, they fell, 3-1, to Richmond. They also came up short in the 2007 finals, falling, 3-2, to Windy City.
Before relocating, the team was in Canton, Ohio, and was known as the Crocodiles, who won the league title, 2-0, over Evansville in their first season of 1997.
Thomas Dorminy will start for Washington in the finale. He is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 14 innings in the playoffs. In the regular season, he led the league with a 2.45 ERA to go along with a 9-5 record. Joliet had not announced its starter.
Joliet’s Nate Antone joins Dorminy as the only other pitchers to win two postseason games, and he also leads the way with 18 strikeouts. Current Slammer Danny Zardon and former Slammer Dom Iero both lead playoff participants with two home runs, while Zardon also leads the way in RBIs with seven, and Washington’s Roman Collins is next with six.
Regardless of the outcome of the season’s final game, Isom hopes that the Slammers can get a chance to meet with fans and thank them for their support during this special year.
“Win or lose, I’d love to see us do something here at the stadium that will bring some people out,” Isom said. “The fans have been a big part of our success all season long, and we had great crowds the last two nights. These fans have been behind us, and it’s great to see the City of Joliet also being behind us during this whole playoff run. It was special to us as a team to have had an electric crowd like that, and they’ve played a big part in our season.”