RailCats Overcome Early Deficit to Down Railroaders
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Cleburne, TX – Though the Gary SouthShore RailCats found themselves behind big in the early stages, a historic performance on the basepaths helped them turn a five-run deficit into a 10-9 victory.
The ‘Cat went a perfect 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts, breaking Cleburne’s previous American Association single-game record of 12, to power them past a resilient Railroaders squad.
Before the Railroaders placed the RailCats in an early hole, they jumped on opposing starter Garrett Alexander early to take a 3-0 lead in the very first inning. Tom Walraven‘s leadoff walk set Michael Woodworth up to blast a two-run home run to left field, giving the ‘Cats two runs after just two batters. Jesus Marriaga and Victor Nova then followed up with a base hit and a walk, and a successful double steal drew a throwing error, allowing Marriaga to scoot home to cap off the scoring.
However, that early edge proved to be short-lived. The Railroaders erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the first and one in the second to pull ahead 8-3.
Nevertheless, the RailCats refused to be deterred. After a scoreless third inning, they attacked for four runs in the top of the fourth. Nate Scantlin singled and stole two bases, one of which came on a double steal alongside Walraven, enabling Woodworth to smack a two-run single. Another steal advanced him to second base, and Marriaga promptly delivered a base hit to tally another run. He stole second immediately afterward, drawing another throwing error that moved him up to third in the process, and Nova’s ensuing knock lowered the Cleburne advantage to 8-7.
The very next inning, the Gary SouthShore offense came through once again to level the score. The bottom of the order loaded the bases without putting a ball in play as Scantlin and Sherman Graves walked on either side of a Jackson Smith hit-by-pitch, and Woodworth grooved another run-scoring single which brought home the tying run.
While the RailCats lineup scratched and clawed their way back in the game, reliever Nick Garcia held the Railroaders in check. He tossed 3.1 scoreless innings after entering in the third inning, setting down all 10 batters he faced.
Garcia’s dominance on the mound enabled the ‘Cats to go back on top in the seventh inning. Woodworth ripped a base hit and stole his third base of the day, and with two outs, Marriaga legged out an infield single to keep the inning alive. As second base re-opened, Marriaga registered another stolen base, prompting the Railroaders to intentionally walk Nova and load the bases. The next batter, LG Castillo, supplied the go-ahead hit, grounding a single into center field which provided Gary SouthShore a 10-8 edge.
Aaron Phillips and Julio Vivas combined to record a scoreless bottom of the frame, but the Railroaders got their offense back on track in the eighth. A one-out double and two-out single moved them back within one, and a walk to the next batter positioned both the tying and go-ahead runs on base, but Vivas forced a Zach Nehrir flyout to guide the ‘Cats out of trouble up 10-9.
Needing three outs to secure the result, the RailCats called upon Yeison Medina to finish the Railroaders off. Though he walked one batter, three groundouts slammed the door on a potential Cleburne comeback bid and polished off an impressive win.
The RailCats take the field at The Depot at Cleburne Station one last time this year tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. for the sixth and final game of their series against the Railroaders. All the action can be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.