Woodworth Walk-Off Hit Send RailCats to Victory
By Zach Letson, Gary SouthShore RailCats
The Gary SouthShore RailCats (17-25) had their backs against the wall, but down to their final three outs, they came up clutch and stunned the East Division-leading Milwaukee Milkmen (24-16) 4-3 in walk-off fashion.
Throughout the night, starting pitcher Edward Cuello set the tone on the mound. The right-hander delivered seven innings of one-run ball, striking out five Milkmen in the process. At the time of his departure, the RailCats clung to a one-run lead.
The bats helped the ‘Cats gain command early. After Daniel Lingua was hit by a pitch, Gio Díaz and Jackson Valera followed with back-to-back singles. The latter plated Lingua to provide Gary SouthShore with a 1-0 first-inning edge.
The offense didn’t stop there. One frame later, Thomas Greely got hit by a pitch, and Michael Woodworth blooped a single into right field on a hit-and-run, placing runners on the corners with just one out. A Lingua fielder’s choice in the next at-bat brought home Greely, doubling the Gary SouthShore advantage.
Milwaukee answered back through a Cam Balego solo home run in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 2-1. However, that was all the offense Milkmen mustered through the first seven innings.
As the RailCats turned to their bullpen in the top of the eighth, the Milkmen got their bats going. A one-out fielder’s choice knotted the score at two, and in their next turn at bat, Milwaukee pulled ahead on a Rudy Martin, Jr single, capping off a late comeback.
Nevertheless, the RailCats saved their best for last. Jesus Marriaga worked a leadoff walk, and Francisco Del Valle laid a bunt down in an attempt to advance Marriaga. But, the perfect bunt left no one to cover first base, and it turned into an infield single which positioned the winning run aboard with no outs.
Victor Nova sacrificed Marriaga and Del Valle into scoring position, prompting the Milkmen to intentionally walk Greely and institute a force out at any base. Woodworth then connected on the first pitch he saw and dropped a single into right field to score Marriaga, and a misplay in right field allowed Del Valle to follow as the winning run, giving Gary SouthShore the walk-off victory.
The RailCats have a quick turnaround as they return to The Steel Yard tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. for game two 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 via the Mixlr app.