Thomari Story-Harden picked the best time to hit a grand slam.
The Mavericks overpowered the Windy City ThunderBolts, earning a 13-5 win at Taylor Stadium on Saturday. The Mavericks improved to 24-55, and the ThunderBolts dropped to 37-43.
The game stopped for about 15 minutes in the bottom of the eighth when a fight developed after the Mavericks’ John Wright got hit by a pitch. Story-Harden punched back with a two-out, grand slam to right field.
“You just try to hit the ball hard,” Story-Harden said. “It’s just a result of that.”
Manager Jim Gentile said, “We needed that. They were getting close and that grand slam put them out of reach.”
Story-Harden went 2-for-5 with six RBIs.
The Mavericks, though, didn’t have a good start. In the first, Mavericks’ starter John Picco allowed the ThunderBolts to open the scoring without giving up any hits.
Leadoff man Jerome McCoy walked and advanced to second on a balk. Then, he stole third base and reached home on Picco’s wild pitch for a 1-0 lead.
The Mavericks, though, rallied in the second to take the lead. Brent Metheny led off with a single and scored to tie the game at 1 on Justin Quaney’s double to left field off starter Kris Regas.
Quaney scored to break the tie when the ThunderBolts third baseman Nick Saunders couldn’t handle John Wright’s grounder. Designated hitter Blake Blase doubled to left-center field to drive in Dusty Hillman and Wright, extending the lead to 4-1.
The rally took the pressure off Picco, and he picked up his first win. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up five runs and five hits.
“He did really well,” Gentile said. “That’s his first win. So, maybe for next 15 games, he might pick a couple more.”
In the third, Metheny led off with a double and stole third. Then, he slide safely into home for a 5-1 lead after Eric Darjean hit a grounder to Regas, who threw home.
In the fourth, with two out, after Wright singled and Blase walked, Story-Harden doubled to drive in two runs for a 7-1 lead. C.J. Thomas followed with a two-run home run to left field.
Metheny went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Thomas went 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs.
Trailing 9-1 in the sixth, the ThunderBolts scored two runs when former Maverick Nick Saunders hit a double to left-center field to narrow the lead to 9-3. Picco walked Joe Rhomberg and hit Nick Johnson to load the bases. Picco, though, got Mike Bragg to ground out to third base to end the inning.
In the seventh, with one out, the ThunderBolts’ Gilbert Barry singled and Dan Street followed with a double, retiring Picco.
Brian Baker hit a single to center off reliever Ben Buck to drive in Barry, cutting the lead to 9-4. After Buck walked Saunders to load the bases, Buck struck out Rich Daly.
Buck, though, walked Rhomberg to force in a run.