Walraven Sets Mark as RailCats Shatter Milkmen
By Ryan Zimmerman, Gary Southshore RailCats
Gary, IN – Tom Walraven put together a night that will live on in American Association lore for a long time as he led the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a 21-1 victory over the Milwaukee Milkmen.
Not only did his nine RBI tie a single-game league record, but Walraven became the first player in American Association history to hit two grand slams in a single game. He also finished 4-for-6 and scored three runs to cap off a standout performance.
The RailCats began their night of domination by taking the lead in the bottom of the first. Michael Woodworth led off by doubling to left field and promptly advanced 90 feet on a groundout. With two outs in the inning, Jesus Marriaga legged out an infield single on a ground ball that hit the third base bag, and after Victor Nova moved him up to second on a single, Walraven delivered his first run-scoring hit of the night, a single to center field which placed the RailCats ahead 2-0.
In their very next turn at bat, the ‘Cats caught fire and struck for six runs. Singles from Lester Madden and Jackson Smith alongside a Daniel Lingua walk loaded the bases before an LG Castillo broken bat single brought Madden home. Marriaga lifted a sacrifice fly to score Smith, and after Nova walked, Walraven smacked the first of his two grand slams, giving Gary SouthShore an 8-0 cushion after just two frames.
Not to be outmatched, the RailCats lineup returned in the bottom of the third for another six-run outburst. Woodworth’s single and walks t0 Lingua and Castillo loaded the bases, and Marriaga delivered a two-run single to push Gary SouthShore into double digits. Just like in the previous inning, Nova walked to re-fill the bases, and Walraven launched his second grand slam, firing the RailCats up 14-0.
Castillo came through once again in the bottom of the fourth to another pair of runs. His two-out single gave the RailCats another boost, increasing their advantage to 16-0.
Though Milwaukee plated a run in the top of the fifth, the RailCats answered back one inning later. As runners stood on the corners with two outs, a throwing error allowed Smith to cross home plate, restoring the Gary SouthShore edge to 16 at 17-1.
Again, Gary SouthShore caught fire in the bottom of the seventh and tacked on another four runs. Walraven led off with a single, his fourth hit on the night, and Smith’s two-out knock advanced him to second. Woodworth followed up by tucking a fly ball down inside the right field line, driving in a pair on a triple. Lingua then walked, and Castillo ripped a two-run double to close out the scoring.
While the lineup could do no wrong, four pitchers combined to hold the Milkmen to just a single tally. Edward Cuello tossed 5.1 innings of one-run ball, striking out five in a winning effort. Nick Garcia came out of the bullpen and added on another scoreless 1.2 innings, stranding two baserunners as well. Joel Huertas and Jaylen Smith finished the job by throwing perfect innings in the eighth and ninth, capping off an all-around superior performance.
The RailCats close out the season at 1:00 p.m. as they return to The Steel Yard for one last battle against the Milkmen. All the action will be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.