Gary Southshore RailCats Claw Way to Victory
It was a game of bookends of sorts. The Gary Southshore RailCats and Quebec Capitales both scored runs in the first innings, then watched their offenses go dormant for five innings before each team scored in the seventh and eighth innings. Gary would add just one more run than the Capitales and take the 4-3 victory.
Both starters pitched well, but neither would be around long enough to earn the decision. Andy Roberts made his season debut for the RailCats, and the lefty looked good. He allowed the Capitales to score first when Alexei Bell singled with two outs and scored on a double by Tim Smith.
Sheldon McDonald was having a quality outing for Quebec as well. In the first he loaded the bases with no one out. Jon Jones walked, and Zac Mitchell was hit by a pitch before Drew Martinez singled to load the bases. One out later Adam Taylor’s sacrifice fly drove home Jones and the score was tied. While McDonald did allow the tying run to score, his escaping a bases loaded, no-out jam showed that he has quality stuff and great poise.
From there both starters took over. Roberts found himself in a pickle in a few of the frames, but always found a way to get himself out of jams and keep the Capitales off the scoreboard. McDonald, on the other hand, was pitching lights out. Over the next five innings he retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced, yielding only a single and a walk.
Roberts was pulled with two outs in the sixth. He finished by allowing 7 hits and a run in 5.2 innings of work. McDonald allowed just 2 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, while striking out 3.
Now it was time for the bullpens to take over, and neither one was able to hold their opponent off the scoreboard. Paul Mittura began the seventh inning and was relieved by Jessie Snodgrass after walking Tyler Young before retiring Yunieski Gurriel. Jonathan Malo grounded into a fielder’s choice putting him at first, and Yordan Manduley followed with a double that would have allowed Malo to just reach third, but an error by the left fielder enabled him to score and the Capitales were leading 2-1.
The lead did not last long. Jean-Luc Blaquiere took over the pitching duties in the bottom half of the inning and was greeted by a Carlton Salters double. Two batters later Ryan Brockett singled, scoring Salters and tying the game.
In the eighth Blaquiere singled with two outs and scored after Young singled. An error by the RailCats second baseman allowed Blaquiere to score, putting Quebec back on top.
In the bottom half of the inning Jay Johnson took to the hill for the visitors. He walked Mitchell and then gave up a single to Martinez. J.D. Pulfer laid down a perfect bunt to put both runners in scoring position, and a sacrifice fly by Taylor tied the game. That brought Sam Lind to the plate who grounded a ball to the Quebec second baseman but he could not have a play on the speedy Lind. Martinez scored and the Gary Southshore RailCats had their first lead of the game.
In the ninth Andy Loomis restored order for the home team. He retired the side in order, striking out the last two hitters of the game, to earn his first save of the season. Snodgrass (1-0) earned the win, while Johnson (0-1) took the loss for Quebec.
Martinez finished with three hits for the RailCats and scored the winning run. Taylor had two RBI, all via the sacrifice fly. Blacquiere, Young and Manduley each had two hits for Quebec.
Boxscore Provided by the American Association
By Robert Pannier