Adam FROST took away everything that the Schaumburg Flyers had left to play for on Friday night.
But it was the Flyers dashing dreams on Saturday, making the Goldeyes' charge for first place much more difficult with a convincing 4-1 win.
Frost ended the Flyers' quest for the post-season with a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam in a 6-2 win. That didn't mean that Schaumburg is going to roll over in their remaining games with the Goldeyes, according to manager Mike Busch.
"We're gonna go out and play hard. Nothing changes," said Busch. "We're not going to disrespect the game. We're going to go out there and do everything you're supposed to do to win."
Even without hearing Busch's comments, Goldeyes manager Rick Forney held no illusions that the Flyers were going to come up lame in the home stretch.
"They've got a good team. They've really done a nice job in the last three weeks making some changes and getting some healthy bodies. They're play hard," said Forney.
As advertised, the Flyers didn't go down quietly on Saturday, taking a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning against Goldeyes starter Bill Pulsipher. The rally against the left-hander came after Pulsipher retired the first nine batters he faced, including five strikeouts. With Antoan Richardson aboard, Flyer right-fielder Victor Ferrante knocked a sharp grounder off Pulsipher's foot and into shallow left field. Winnipeg's Dee Brown came up throwing, and appeared to have Richardson gunned down at the plate, but home plate umpire Randy Bertram ruled that the fleet Flyer was in under the tag of catcher Dustin Richardson. Felix Jose later cashed Ferrante with a single.
Pinch-hitter Cody Ehlers provided the only Winnipeg run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly, plating Brent Metheny.
While members of the Flyers are looking to pad their stats in hopes of getting a major-league look, the Goldeyes still have something to play for as a team. The Fish are battling the Gary SouthShore RailCats for first overall in the league. The Goldeyes fell two games back with two games to go after Gary downed Fargo 6-4.
The Goldeyes had kept pace with Gary on Friday when Frost's blast sailed onto Waterfront Drive in the vicinity of the left-field foul pole. However, opinions varied as to whether it was directly over the pole ("Fair ball", was all Forney had to say), or just to the left of it.
"I knew I hit it good," said Frost, who hit the Goldeyes' fourth walk-off home run of the season. "When I hit it, it definitely curved out there... I didn't know if I got enough of it to get it over the foul pole.
"(Home plate umpire) Reggie (Jackson) got the right angle at it and saw it was fair and that it got over the pole."
Busch heartily disagreed with Jackson at the end of Friday's game, and maintained that his view from the visitor's dugout trumped Jackson's.
"The whole right side of the stadium had the best angle. It was foul, but what can you do? He made his decision and that's what we had to live with," said Busch.
Even if the Flyers had won, the reprieve would have only been for about 30 minutes, as the Kansas City T-Bones downed Joliet 3-2. Frost wasn't even aware that he was the one who killed Schaumburg's post-season dreams.
"I was just trying to get the win, but it just so happened that they're out of the playoffs," said Frost. "I didn't even know that it was knocking them out."