Lago Sac Fly Completes Railroaders Dramatic Comeback
CLEBURNE, Texas (Aug. 24, 2021) – The Cleburne Railroaders scored three times in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off the Sioux Falls Canaries 6-5 on Tuesday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
Trailing 5-3 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Hunter Clanin led off the inning with an infield single against Sioux Falls closer Caleb Frare (0-5). An attempted pickoff throw to first base sailed into foul territory, allowing Clanin to advance to third. Colton Pogue drove in Clanin with a groundout to shortstop, trimming the lead to 5-4. Skyler Ewing then tied the game with a towering solo home run to left-center, his first home run with the Railroaders. Noah Vaughan was hit in the back to put the winning run at first, and he moved to third on another wild pickoff throw to first. Alay Lago lined a sacrifice fly to right on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Vaughan with the winning run.
The comeback capped a wild game in which the Cleburne bullpen had to throw 6.2 innings when Railroaders starter Michael Gunn left after just 2.1 innings due to injury. Six Railroaders relievers combined to strike out 12, allowing just one earned run. Cleburne hurlers finished the night with 14 strikeouts, a new single-game game high during the 2021 season.
After Gunn exited in the third, Brendan Bell, Emerson Martinez, Daniel James, Landon Holifield, Michael Krauza and Nick Gardewine came out of the Cleburne bullpen to keep the game within shouting distance. Gardewine (1-0) ultimately picked up the win, striking out two in a scoreless top of the ninth.
Sioux Falls (34-55) got a pair of two-run home runs from Jabari Henry to grab a 5-2 lead. Ramon Hernandez and Chase Simpson each recorded run-scoring hits in the bottom of the third to get Cleburne (47-40) on the board. Hernandez’s RBI double set a new single-season franchise record for runs driven in with 94, breaking Simpson’s mark set back in 2019.
Simpson added a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to pull Cleburne within 5-3, setting the stage for the ninth inning rally.
With the win, Cleburne has moved back into a tie for second place with the Lincoln Saltdogs. The Railroaders remain a game and a half ahead of the Sioux City Explorers for the final playoff spot. Game three of the series against the Canaries is scheduled for 7:06 PM on Thursday night.
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.
By Denning Gerig, Cleburne Railroaders