Long Balls Send Cleburne Railroaders to 9-5 Victory
Despite losing the first game of their series against the Wichita Wingnuts, the Cleburne Railroaders have been one of the hottest teams in the American Association of late, winning five of their last eight games. They would make that there six of the last nine after utilizing three home runs to help send them to a 9-5 victory on Saturday evening. Levi Scott homered and drove in three runs as Josh Hodges evened his record at 4-4.
The Cleburne Railroaders would take a big lead early against Wichita starter Charlie Gillies. In the bottom of the first, Trevor Sealey reached on an error but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Levi Scott. With two down, Angelo Gumbs kept the inning alive with a base hit and Scott scored on a single by former Wingnut Hunter Clanin.
In the bottom of the second, Cleburne put four runs up on the board. Cameron Monger started the inning with a base hit, then stole second before Michael Gulino walked. Two batters later Angel Rosa singled up the middle to score Monger extending the lead to two. Gillies struck out Sealey for the second out of the inning, but Scott turned on a 1-1 pitch, blasting it over the wall in right-center for his 13th homer of the year to make it a 5-0 game.
Josh Hodges had been very impressive early on. He allowed a lone hit in each of the first two innings, before retiring the side in order in the top of the third. However, in the top of the fourth, Wichita would finally get on the board. Angel Reyes doubled to start the inning before Hodges retired the next two batters. However, he walked John Nester and Logan Trowbridge to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Reyes to score before an error would bring home the second run of the inning to bring the Wingnuts back within three.
The Railroaders responded right away in the bottom of the fourth. Gillies retired the first batter of the inning, but Rosa hit the first pitch he saw for his 13th homer of the year to extend the lead back to four. Sealey then reached on a single and that would be it for Gillies.
Left-hander Felix Carvallo came on and struck out Scott but then gave up a base hit to Gumbs before Clanin drove in his second run of the game with a base hit up the middle to plate Sealey to make it a 7-2 ballgame.
The Wichita Wingnuts responded with two runs in the top of the fifth. Abel Nieves doubled with one out and scored when Reyes followed with his 15th homer of the year.
The pesky Railroaders continued to respond, adding a run of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Monger reached on an error to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. He would score on a Gulino base hit to extend the Cleburne lead back to four.
Wichita continued to battle back as well. In the top of the sixth Nester started the inning with a double and he moved to third on a Logan Watkins single with two outs. A base hit by Zach Nehrir brought Nester home to bring Wichita back within three.
However, the Cleburne Railroaders would get one more home run in the bottom of seventh-inning. With two down, Monger connected on his 10th homer of the year to make it a 9-5 ballgame. That would be the final.
The Railroaders got 3.1 outstanding innings of relief from their bullpen. Will Mathis came on in the sixth and tossed 1.1 innings of perfect relief, striking out two. In the eighth, Jesus Sanchez would retire Wichita in order and Shawn Blackwell finished off the game with a scoreless inning in the ninth to preserve the victory.
Cleburne was led by Levi Scott who was 1-5 with 2-runs and 3-RBI. Angel Rosa was 2-4 with 2-runs and 2-RBI and Cameron Monger added a 3-4 performance with 3-runs and an RBI. Angel Reyes the Wichita offense, going 2-4 with 2-runs and 2-RBI.
Game 3 of this series is set for Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05.
By Robert Pannier