Geraldo Valentin Helps Railroaders Get On-Track with 5-3 Victory
The Cleburne Railroaders entered Friday night’s looking to gain some ground on the Wichita Wingnuts. Trailing by 5.5-games entering play, the Railroaders wanted to jump out in front early so that they could make the Wingnuts play catchup, and that is exactly what they did, scoring four-runs in the first on their way to the 5-3 victory. Geraldo Valentin drove in a run in the first and scored two runs on the evening to get Cleburne’s offense on-track, and Winston Abreu saved his ninth game of the season.
The Cleburne Railroaders took control of this game in the top of the first when they scored four-runs against Wingnuts starter Charlie Leesman. Mitch Glasser started the inning off with a base hit and then stole second. After Ermindo Escobar struck out, Maikol Gonzalez laid down a bunt that he beat out for a base hit and then stole second to put two runners into scoring position. Geraldo Valentin was the next hitter, and he singled into left field, scoring Glasser to give Cleburne the lead. Next was Shawn Zarraga, who drilled a ball down the line in left field that he legged into a double. Gonzalez scored on the play and Valentin moved to third. Blake Grant-Parks followed with a single that moved Gonzalez to third and Franelys Sanchez brought home Gonzalez with a double. That made the score 4-0 and it could have been 5-0, but a great relay from Harrison Kain to Christian Stringer to Martin Medina nailed Grant-Parks at the plate.
Wander Perez started for the Railroaders and he looked in complete control from the start. He allowed a one-out single to Christian Stringer in the first, but then picked him off, and would retire the Wingnuts in order in the second.
Garrett Gould came on for Wichita in the second and pitched well for the next four innings. He did not allow a run, giving his team a chance to get back into the game.
The Wingnuts started to chip away at the lead, getting on the board in the bottom of the third. Leo Vargas singled with one out and moved to third on a base hit by Harrison Kain. Vargas scored on a ground out by Stringer and it was 4-1.
In the seventh, Cleburne extended their lead to four once again. Valentin started the inning with a double and scored when Grant-Parks doubled two batters later. That made it 5-1.
The Wingnuts would cut that deficit to two in the bottom of the eighth. Stringer got the rally started when he doubled with one out and he scored when Brent Clevlen followed with a base hit. Two batters later, Matt Chavez lined a double down the line in left, bringing Clevlen around to score and it was 5-3.
In the ninth, the Railroaders would send in Winston Abreu looking to close it out. He retired the Wingnuts in order, striking out the final two batters of the game for his ninth save of the season.
Geraldo Valentin finished 3-5, 2-runs, and an RBI. Blake Grant-Parks was 3-5 with 2-RBI. Christian Stringer remains red-hot, going 2-3 with a run and an RBI. He has hit in five straight, going 13-20 in that span.
These two teams will go at it again tomorrow. Jordan Cooper (2-0, 1.85) will go for Wichita. He will be opposed by Patrick Mincey (5-0, 1.90). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier