Trenton is still alive in the Eastern League Finals and the vision of Addison Maruszak is a significant reason why.
Maruszak's two-run double helped the Thunder rally for an 11-7 victory over the visiting Akron Aeros on Friday night, avoiding a sweep in the best-of-5 Championship Series.
The 25-year-old shortstop, who also singled in four at-bats, came up in the fifth inning with the Thunder trailing, 7-6. His two-out double past the glove of third baseman Ryan Rohlinger brought home David Adams and Zoilo Almonte.
"It was one of the only times in my life that the baseball seemed like it was in slow motion," said Maruszak, who saw only one pitch in the at-bat. "I know what [reliever T.J. House] has, I know how he pitches. I just told myself, 'Don't try to do anything special. See the ball. Hit the ball.'
"It was my third time facing [House]. He's got a nice fastball, but he also has a good changeup and slider. They called time out and I was focused on getting a pitch in the heart of the plate and not swinging at anything else. I saw it right out of his hand and jumped on it. I was pretty sure it was a fastball."
And when he advanced to third on the throw to the plate?
"I realized it was the biggest runs that I hit in in my career," said Maruszak, a 2008 17th-round Draft pick.
He had help.
The first five hitters in the Thunder lineup (including Maruszak, who batted fifth) went a combined 11-for-19. No one had a bigger game than Almonte, who collected five RBIs in addition to scoring the go-ahead run.
"He's a guy that when he swing at his pitches, he drives them," Maruszak said. "He was the difference-maker."
Aeros starter Carlos Carrasco, a rehabbing Indians right-hander working his way back from Tommy John surgery, was charged with four runs on four hits -- including Almonte's three-run homer in the first -- and didn't come out for the third.
House (0-1) surrendered five runs on four hits over 3 2/3 frames.
Thunder counterpart Mikey O'Brien gave up five runs on eight hits, including Adam Abraham's solo homer, and failed to record an out in the third.
Chun Chen, the Indians' No. 14 prospect, went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored for Akron. But the Aeros could not hold on to a 7-4 lead in the fifth.
Game 4 is Saturday in Trenton.