The fours were wild for Gateway Grizzlies slugger Jon Myers in Thursday’s critical Frontier League baseball game at GCS Ballpark in Sauget against the Southern Illinois Miners.
The St. Peters native and former Saint Louis University star had four hits and four RBIs, including a towering grand slam home run that proved to be the game-winning blow in a 10-8 victory for the Grizzlies.
Myers, who also homered for the fourth time in his last four games, leads the league with 23 homers this season. And his next home run will be the 44th of his career.
Needless to say, the Gateway center fielder might want to play a 4 or two in this weekend’s $100 million Powerball lottery.
In the meantime, the Grizzlies need Myers to keep bashing the ball the way he has of late.
In the 23 games from July 31 to August 24, Gateway lost 16 times.
But in the last four games, contests which each featured a clutch Myers home run, the Grizzlies are 3-1 and have once again climbed back into a tie for fourth and final Frontier League wild card spot.
Starting pitcher Ja’Vaun West (8-3) overcame a shaky start, giving up four runs in the first three innings, to pitch six solid innings and earn his first win since July 3.
West’s final line included four runs allowed on seven hits, with five strikeouts and three walks.
Most importantly though, West didn’t allow a run after the third inning, which allowed Gateway to rally back and win.
A key inning for the Grizzlies was the bottom of the fourth, when they scored three times to take their first lead, thanks to a pair of back-to-back home runs by Jose Flores and Alex Guthrie.
Flores’ blast — a two-run shot that tied the score at four — was his ninth of the season, while Guthrie’s shot — which clanged off the team’s office building behind the left field wall — was his seventh of the season.
Third baseman Chris McClendon, who drove in Gateway’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, doubled home a run in the fifth to make it 6-4 Grizzlies.
But that only set the stage for Myers’ grand salami in the seventh, which put Gateway up 10-4.
Southern Illinois got four runs in the top of the ninth off rookie reliever Logan Mahon to make it interesting, but new Grizzlies closer Justin Erasmus earned his third save in four nights by getting all three batters he faced to fly out.
The victory raised Gateway’s record to 49-41 this season, same as the Miners and the Florence Freedom, who also lost on Thursday, giving the Grizzlies the chance to tie for wild card lead.
Another club Gateway will need to keep an eye on, which might actually be the hottest team in the league right now, is the River City Rascals, who have won 13 of their last 15 games and are only a game-and-a-half behind the three wild card leaders.
And River City will get its chance to maybe move even closer this weekend, when it hosts Southern Illinois for three games at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon, Mo.
Gateway will also be at home this weekend, with three games at GCS against the Rockford Aviators.
Rookie Tucker Jensen (6-7) will make the start for Gateway on Friday. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
GATEWAY GRIZZLIES REMAINING SCHEDULE
August 30 vs. Rockford Aviators …………… 7:05 p.m.
August 31 vs. Rockford Aviators …………… 7:05 p.m.
September 1 vs. Rockford Aviators ……….. 7:05 p.m.
September 3 at Southern Illinois Miners …. 7:05 p.m.
September 4 at Southern Illinois Miners …. 7:05 p.m.
September 5 at Southern Illinois Miners …. 7:05 p.m.