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Otters put damper on Independence Day celebrations, take series finale from Slammers

By: Matthew Gustafson

JOLIET, IL – Late offensive fireworks by the Slammers were not enough to take down the Otters on Independence Day. 

Joliet (22-26) struck first in the bottom of the second inning. Victor Nova tripled down the right field line before a sacrifice fly from Cal Hejza brought him home, giving the Slammers a 1-0 lead. 

Evansville (19-29) took the lead in the top of the fourth on a two-run homer to right-center field by Logan Brown, also scoring Dakota Phillips. The Otters extended their lead to 3-1 the next inning when Randy Bednar doubled to left to score David Mendham. 

Evansville tacked on another run in the seventh. Randy Bednar doubled to center field before scoring on a Mason White single to right field, giving the visitors a 4-1 advantage. The Otters made it a four run lead the next inning when Dakota Phillips hit a solo home run to right field. 

Evansville scored its final run of the night in the ninth inning. David Mendham doubled down the left field line before advancing to third on a single to right field by Mason White. Alec Olund singled to center field, scoring Mendham. 

The Slammers put together a comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth, starting with a double down the left field line by Antonio Valdez. Victor Nova sent another double down the line with two outs to score Valdez, then Cal Hejza was hit by a pitch to place two runners on base. 

The Otters brought in Michael McAvene to secure the final out, holding on for a series-clinching 6-2 victory.

Zach Smith earned the win for Evansville, striking out eight batters while only allowing three hits and one earned run in six innings pitched. Jake Armstrong was tagged with the loss for Joliet, surrendering seven hits and three earned runs with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched. 

The Slammers will look to start off their series against the Ottawa Titans with a win tomorrow, July 5, as the team celebrates Hispanic Heritage Night. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m., and there will be postgame fireworks. 

For information on season tickets, premium suites or group outings, please visit the Slammers’ official website at