Cleburne Railroaders Hang on for 4-3 Victory over Stockade
Wednesday evening, Alberto Rodriguez dominated the Salina Stockade for 5-innings, and the Cleburne Railroaders looked to be in complete control as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. However, a run in the eighth got Salina on the board before they had the tying run 90-feet away from home in the ninth against one of the American Association’s best closers as the Railroaders hung on for the 4-3 win. Blake Grant-Parks was a perfect 3-3 with 2-runs and 2-RBI, and KC Huth drove in 2-runs in the win.
After a scoreless first inning, Cleburne took the lead in the second. Blake Grant-Parks doubled to start the inning and scored when KC Huth singled two batters later. That made it 1-0.
Salina starter Brian Smith settled down and kept this a one-run game heading into the sixth. However, the Railroaders extended their lead in the sixth. Axel Johnson and Mitch Glasser led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Grant-Parks drilled a double to the wall in left that scored both Johnson and Glasser to make it 3-0. A base hit by Huth plated Grant-Parks and the Cleburne Railroaders had a fairly commanding lead.
Alberto Rodriguez (3-1) had been nothing short of brilliant. The Railroaders starter allowed 3-hits and 4-walks through this 5-innings of work. He did not allow a run, lowering his ERA to 1.95.
In the sixth, Rodriguez gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning and Carlos Misell relieved. He retired the side in order to end the threat, and pitched a perfect seventh as well to keep the Stockade off the board. However, in the eighth, Salina was able to manufacture a run. Troy Paris singled to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball. A fly ball moved him to third, before Jimmy Heck scored Paris with an RBI ground out.
That sent the game to the ninth, where Cleburne closer Winston Abreu came on to close it out. He hit Jesse Baker to begin the inning before striking out Jordan Caillouet. Roche Woodard followed with a single and he then stole second to put two runners into scoring position with one down. Logan Trowbridge then singled to score both Baker and Woodard to put Salina just one-run back. Aaron Olivas flew out before Paris singled to put Trowbridge at third. A walk to Kewby Meyer loaded the bases and what looked like an easy win for Cleburne was in real jeopardy. Heck got ahead in the count, 2-1, but then beat the ball into the dirt out in front of the plate. Abreu pounced on it, and threw to first for the final out and the Railroaders won 4-3. That gave Abreu his 10th save.
Blake Grant-Parks was 3-3 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. KC Huth was 2-4 with 2-RBI. Mitch Glasser was 2-3 with a run scored. For the Salina Stockade, Troy Paris was 2-4 with a run scored and Jimmy Heck was 2-5 with an RBI.
By Robert Pannier