Dogs Rally Falls Short in Loss to RailCats
By Jack Ankony, Chicago Dogs
After a seventh comeback win on Wednesday, the Dogs began their rally in the ninth inning on Thursday. Dogs leadoff hitter Brennan Metzger stepped up to the plate with one out and the bases loaded, and cut the deficit to two runs with a sacrifice fly.
The Dogs last hope at another miraculous comeback was then in the hands of Grant Kay. Kay drove a ball that was nearing the warning track in left field, but it wasn’t deep enough to extend the game. The Dogs’ rally fell just short, as they were defeated by the RailCats 5-3.
“Everybody had good at-bats [in the ninth],” Dogs manager Butch Hobson said. “We just fell a couple short.”
With this loss, the Dogs four-game winning streak was snapped in a game where a few missed opportunities made the difference. In the third inning, Harrison Smith was caught stealing, and the very next pitch was ripped for a double by Kay.
The Dogs left eight runners on base in a game where Hobson thought his lineup had a number of well-hit balls that simply didn’t fall in the right spots. Gary SouthShore’s Nikola Vasic collided with the outfield wall in the seventh inning while making a spectacular catch to rob Metzger.
Earlier in the game, Metzger tried to stretch a triple, but was thrown out at first base. Hobson said he was okay with the aggressive decision because it was in the first at-bat of the game, but recognized the rule of thumb to not make the first or third out at third base.
“We got a little big sometimes with our swings,” Hobson said. “But you know what, we’ll run into those games, and our job is to come in tomorrow and do some work and get ready for tomorrow.”
K.C. Hobson continued his hot streak at the plate, driving in the Dogs first run of the game in the first inning by singling a pitch to the opposite field to score Danny Mars. Hobson now has five hits in the last two days to fuel the Dogs lineup.
While it might not have been his best start of the year, tonight marked Michael Bowden’s longest start of the early season. Bowden pitched seven innings, giving up five runs on eight hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
Hobson said with arms like Jake Dahlberg and Juan Echevarria unavailable on Thursday due to minor injuries, it was important that Bowden pitched deep into the game. Bowden struggled at times to keep the ball down in the zone, which resulted in three RailCats home runs on pitches that Hobson said were left up too high.
But as a veteran pitcher, Bowden was able to limit the damage and still pitch into the seventh inning, which is something he had yet to accomplish before tonight.
“[Bowden] got a little frustrated, then he got a little pissed off and started getting the ball down in the zone which made his split and his breaking ball better,” Hobson said.
Ferguson replaced Bowden for the eighth inning and tossed two perfect innings with two strikeouts. Hobson said the biggest key for Ferguson was simply throwing strikes, and he used his slider to keep the RailCats off balance.
The Dogs will continue their four-game series against Gary SouthShore on Friday at 7:05 p.m. when Connor Grey takes the mound for the Dogs against Gregori Vasquez.