The St. Paul Saints started their 10-game road trip probably thinking that a .500 record would have been pure heaven, but after winning five of the first seven games of the trip, no doubt they were thinking anything less than a sixth win would be a disappointment. The Gary Southshore RailCats were happy to send them back to Minnesota disappointed, as the RailCats completed their sweep with a 6-5 walk-off victory in 11. Myles Smith earned his second victory of the season and Ronnie Mitchell delivered 2-RBI for the second game in a row.
The Gary Southshore RailCats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first against Saints starter Matt Solter. Alex Crosby walked to start the frame and moved to third on a double by Andy DeJesus. Solter struck out Tillman Pugh before walking Colin Willis to load the bases. A single by Ronnie Mitchell brought home Crosby and DeJesus came home on an RBI single by Andy Paz.
The Saints battled back with single runs in the fourth and fifth to tie the score. In the fourth, Brady Shoemaker started the inning with a single and moved to third on a one-out double by Dante Bichette, Jr. A ground out by Matt Snyder brought home Shoemaker to make it 2-1.
An inning later, Max Murphy doubled with one out and scored on a single by Kyle Barrett. That tied the score at two.
In the sixth, the RailCats retook the lead. Pugh beat out a ground ball for a hit and Willis followed with a sharp single to right that put runners at first and second with one down. Mitchell ripped a double into left to score Pugh, putting the RailCats back on top. Paz was intentionally walked, and that would be it for Solter.
Ken Frosch came on and gave up a single to Wilson, scoring Willis. Garrett Copeland then drew a bases loaded walk to drive in Mitchell, extending the Gary lead to three. Frosch dialed it up, striking out Cole Fabio before getting Crosby to fly out to end the inning.
The Saints did what they have done all year, score late, putting three runs up in the eighth to tie the score. Burt Reynolds started the inning with a double and scored when Shoemaker followed with a single. Jack Fowler retired the next two batters, but Matt Snyder would double to put runners at second and third. Fowler threw the next pitch in the dirt for a wild pitch. Shoemaker came home, but the throw to the plate by the catcher to try to catch the runner was wild, allowing Snyder to come around to score as well. That tied the game at five.
Neither team would score in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings. A scoreless tenth gave the RailCats the opportunity to win it in the 11th. Wilson singled to get the inning started and moved to second on a sacrifice. A single by Fabio moved Wilson to third before Crosby was intentionally walked to load the bases. That brought DeJesus to the plate, who hit a ball deep enough to center to drive home Wilson to win the game, 6-5.
The win moved the RailCats into first place in the North Division, a half game ahead of the Saints and the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Myles Smith (1-0) came on in the final inning for Gary Southshore to earn the win. Ronnie Mitchell was 3-5 with a run and 2-RBI. Reggie Wilson also had 3-hits for the RailCats.
Mike Devine tossed three shutout innings for the Saints. Brady Shoemaker scored 2-runs, drove in a run, and had 2-hits.
The St. Paul Saints have two days off before beginning a two-game series against the Wichita Wingnuts on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier