Gary Southshore RailCats All-Star Break Review
Record: 28-33, Third Place in the Central Division, 15 Games Out
The Gary Southshore RailCats are another team looking for consistency to try to get on a big run. The club was 7-4 coming out of May, and opened June with a sweep of Ottawa to move to 10-4, but they were then swept by Rockland and lost two of there to Sussex County. The RailCats went 12-13 in June. July has been brutal, losing 10 out of 25 games. That included losing five of their last six games before the All-Star break.
The RailCats are 10th in the American Association in hitting (.253) and are by far in last place in home runs with seven. That is usually the norm for the RailCats because this is a club built with speed, but they are a middle of the pack in stolen bases and in last in doubles, both very un-Gary like.
Top Player – Jon Jones
Jon Jones is the team leader in most offensive categories for the Gary Southshore RailCats. His .298 average, 31 runs scored and 31 RBI lead the team, as do his 6 triples and 14 steals. He has done it all. In his last 10 games Jones has been especially hot, getting 16 hits in 37 at-bats with 6 runs and 9 RBI. The outfielder has also played stellar defense for the RiverCats and has established himself as a real presence with the team.
Top Pitcher – Chuck Fontana
Even though he is just a rookie, Chuck Fontana has done an amazing job out of the bullpen for the Gary Southshore RailCats this season. He is one of the best left-handed setup guys in the league, and has been a key piece of the club’s bullpen. So far he is 3-2 with 3 saves and a 2.17 ERA in 23 appearances. Fontana has allowed just 17 hits and 6 walks in 29 innings pitched.
The talent is there, and Greg Tagert is one of the best managers in Independent baseball, so there is the ability to challenge for the Wild Card. The team is just six games out, which honestly is not a lot. The big issue is that they open the second-half with three against St. Paul and four against Joplin. If they can go at least 4-3 in those games that should open the door to them making a real run. This is veteran team that knows how to handle pressure, so no one should be surprised if they battle back to take the Wild Card.
By Robert Pannier