Josh Hodges Declaws RailCats; Stockade Win 4-1
The Gary Southshore RailCats were looking for the sweep Friday night as they had won their first three games over the Salina Stockade by a combined score of 18-2. However, starter Josh Hodges had other ideas, declawing the RailCats over eight-innings, allowing just 4-hits and a run as the Stockade pulled out the 4-1 victory. Jimmy Heck and Kewby Meyer each had 3-hits and Tyler Herr saved his fourth game of the season to help lead Salina.
Each team got on the board in the first. In the top half of the inning, Roche Woodard drew a walk with one down and moved to second when Kewby Meyer grounded a single into right. A hit by pitch loaded the bases and Cody Coffman walked to drive home Woodard. This inning had the potential to get much worse for the home team, but Gary starter Josh Conway was able to induce a double-play to end the threat.
The RailCats responded with a run in the bottom half of the frame. With one down, Reggie Wilson walked then stole second and third. Randy Santiesteban walked with two down to put runners at the corners, and Frank Martinez brought Wilson home with a single into center to tie the score at one.
Two innings later the Stockade took the lead for good. Conway retired the first two batters of the inning, but walked Jesse Baker to keep the frame alive. Coffman followed with a single and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Troy Paris then gave his team the lead with a single into right to make it 2-1.
In the sixth, Logan Trowbridge was hit by a pitch with one down and moved to second when Jimmy Heck beat out a ground ball into the hole for a single, one of three hits on the day for the Salina second baseman. Both runners then took off on the double-steal and were safe. The throw trying to get Trowbridge went down the line in left and he came home to score to make it 3-1.
After giving up the first inning run, Josh Hodges (2-3) was absolutely brilliant. He retired eight straight before yielding a one out single in the fourth. He would give up lone hits in the fifth and sixth and then retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth before his night was over. Overall, the Salina starter went 8-innings, allowing 4-hits, 4-walks, and a run. He struck out 5.
In the top of the ninth, the Stockade would add an insurance run. Jimmy Heck singled to start the inning and moved to third on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Scott Stetson singled to drive home Heck to make it 4-1.
Tyler Herr came on in the ninth looking to closed out the game. He struck out Martinez to start the inning before walking the next two batters. Andy DeJesus then struck out, bringing Chase Harris to the plate as the tying run. He fell behind 1-2 before grounding a single for a base hit to load the bases. Andy Crosby was now the winning run, but Herr blew him away, closing the game out for his fourth save of the year.
Jimmy Heck was 3-4 with a run scored. Kewby Meyer also had 3-hits on the evening.
The Stockade (10-55) head home to begin a three-game series against the Wichita Wingnuts. Game 1 of the series is Sunday night at 7:00.
By Robert Pannier