Railroaders Fall to Monarchs But Secure Playoff Spot
CLEBURNE, Texas (Sep. 5, 2021) – The Cleburne Railroaders secured their first-ever playoff berth by virtue of a loss from the Lincoln Saltdogs, but could not rally themselves as the Kansas City Monarchs snuck away with a 5-4 win on Sunday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
Lincoln’s defeat earlier in the evening to the Houston Apollos guarantees that the Railroaders will play in Wednesday’s South Division Wild Card game, but neither the opponent nor the location has been decided. Cleburne can clinch home field for that contest with a win on Monday or a Sioux City loss.
Kansas City (68-31) quickly pounced for a 3-0 lead, scoring once in the second on a sacrifice fly from Paulo Orlando and twice in the third on run-scoring singles from Darnell Sweeney and Ibandel Isabel.
Cleburne (54-45) answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 3-3. An infield single from Alay Lago combined with an error from Ryan Grotjohn plated the first run, then Osvaldo Martinez looped an RBI single into center. Chase Simpson tied the game with a long sacrifice fly to center.
A Grotjohn RBI single in the fourth retook the lead for Kansas City, and Isabel made it 5-3 with a towering solo homer to center.
The Railroaders had one more chance to even the game in the seventh, getting a run back on an RBI single from Martinez and eventually putting two runners in scoring position with two outs. Kansas City reliever Jacob Lindgren induced a pop up to second base to escape the threat, and Cleburne would not get another man to scoring position against Dalbert Siri or Jameson McGrane. McGrane nailed down his eighth save with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.
The Cleburne bullpen was excellent in relief of starter Jalen Evans (2-3), getting 4.2 combined shutout innings from Brendan Bell, Landon Holifield, Michael Krauza and Nick Gardewine, with five strikeouts along the way.
Keyvius Sampson (5-1) picked up the win for Kansas City, throwing two scoreless innings in relief.
The Railroaders and Monarchs conclude the series on Monday afternoon at 1:00 PM. Right-hander Jheyson Manzueta (7-4, 3.47) gets the ball for Cleburne, while Kansas City counters with fellow righty Jake Matthys (8-3, 5.70).
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.