RailCats Rally to Down Milkmen
By Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Franklin, WI – Though the Milwaukee Milkmen (56-43) had the Gary SouthShore RailCats (40-58) down to their final two outs, the visitors came through in the clutch to earn an 11-9 victory at Franklin Field.
Early on, the RailCats stormed out to a sizeable lead thanks to a three-run rally in the top of the second. Jacob Bockelie cashed in an LG Castillo leadoff triple by lifting a sacrifice fly to center field, and following walks to Thomas Greely and Gio Díaz, Francisco Del Valle and Jackson Valera produced run-scoring singles, capping off the big inning.
Gary SouthShore went back to work in the third, capitalizing on a Milwaukee mistake to add to their advantage. Castillo reached on an error before promptly stealing second base, setting Miguel Sierra up to drive him home on a single, pushing the RailCats up 4-0.
However, their momentum came to a screeching halt. The Milkmen tacked on a run in the fourth before adding on three more in the fifth, tying the score at four.
The RailCats immediately countered and fired themselves ahead once again in their next trip to the plate. Valera blasted a two-run home run onto the berm in left field, his third of the season, reinstating Gary SouthShore’s edge at 6-4.
Still, the ‘Cats could not shake the Milkmen. Milwaukee canceled Gary SouthShore’s two-run sixth with one of their own, and they followed up with a three-run seventh, establishing a 9-8 heading into the final two frames.
Having to play from behind for the first time, the RailCats kept their cool and started chipping away at the deficit. Del Valle and Jesus Marriaga produced RBI singles, cutting Milwaukee’s edge down to one.
In the meantime, Milwaukee threatened to create more separation heading into the final frame. A walk and double placed runners on second and third base with two outs, but Oddy Nuñez shut down any chance for insurance runs. He struck out Roy Morales to halt the threat, keeping Gary SouthShore behind by just a single tally.
Then, in the top of the ninth, Del Valle stepped up and delivered a clutch go-ahead hit. Greely and Díaz reached in front of him on a walk and base hit respectively, and the right fielder managed to drive them both in. He struck a line drive to left-center field that reached the wall, rounding the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run to cap off the late comeback, and the ‘Cats led 11-9 needing just three outs to seal a dramatic victory.
At that point, Jack Eisenbarger took over on the mound to shut the Milkmen down. The left-hander tossed a three-up, three-down bottom of the ninth, fanning each of the final two batters he faced to finish Milwaukee off and seal the win.
The RailCats take the field for the final time in 2023 as they head back to Franklin Field at 1:00 p.m. for their series finale against the Milkmen. All the action will be streamed on aabaseball.tv as well as broadcast over the radio on 95.9 WEFM and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.