Lingua Drives Home Winner as RailCats Down Monarchs
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Gary, IN – When they needed to come through in the clutch, the Gary SouthShore RailCats came through to defeat the Kansas City Monarchs 4-3 on the final game of their opening homestand.
Each time the Monarchs posed a threat, the RailCats were always quick to counter. At every turn, Gary SouthShore fought tooth and nail to fend off every Monarchs blow to split the four-game series.
Though the Monarchs got a quick start and took a 2-0 edge in the first inning, the RailCats offense responded just one frame later. On his first-ever swing on the South Shore, Sam Abbott connected with a 1-0 fastball and crushed it past the right-field seats for a game-tying two-run home run.
Following their early outburst, Leif Strom quickly quieted the Monarchs offense throughout the rest of his outing. He lasted six innings against the reigning league champions, allowing just those two unearned runs on three hits, striking out a season-high eight in a quality start.
Once Strom made it through the sixth, the RailCats offense sprung to life and grabbed their first lead. Jackson Smith ripped a triple to straightaway center field, and Alec Olund brought him home one batter later through a sacrifice fly.
However, the ‘Cats time in front was short-lived. The Monarchs applied pressure on the Gary SouthShore defense and leveled the game without the aid of a hit. As the go-ahead run stood on first base, reliever Jack Eisenbarger bore down and quickly eliminated the threat, punching out longtime Major League veteran Matt Adams to do so.
After the young lefty produced a scoreless frame, the RailCats offense delivered a late two-out rally and produced the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth. Tom Walraven drew a hard-fought walk on an eight-pitch at-bat and immediately stole second base. Though the Monarchs coaxed the second out soon after the steal, Daniel Lingua drove a double to center field to chase Walraven in and put the ‘Cats ahead 4-3.
Despite placing themselves in position for an impressive victory, Gary SouthShore was not out of the woods just yet. Two walks put the tying and go-ahead runs on base for the middle of the Kansas City order with one out to get, and manager Lamarr Rogers turned to Michigan City native Robbie Coursel to finish the job. On only his second pitch, he induced a weak groundout to seal the win.
As this seven-game homestand draws to a close, the RailCats hit the road as they travel to Franklin, Wisconsin to take on the Milwaukee Milkmen tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. for the first game of a three-game set at Franklin Field. Ryan Zimmerman and Tony Pasquesi have the play-by-play call on aabaseball.tv and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.