RailCats Clipped by Cougars in Series Finale
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Geneva, IL – The Gary SouthShore RailCats kept the pressure on the Kane County Cougars throughout the series finale at Northwestern Medicine Field, but the home squad hung on late to secure a 4-3 win.
The RailCats produced arguably their best offensive performance in the sixth game of the 2022 American Association season as they racked up 11 hits, nine of which against Kane County starter and former seven-year Major League veteran Vance Worley, but they just could not turn those into runs when they needed them the most.
The top of the order jumped all over Worley in the very first inning as they wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Javeyan Williams, Michael Woodworth, and Alec Olund all singled, and Tom Walraven’s fielder’s choice plated the game’s first run.
Kane County responded just one inning later and took their first lead with just one swing. B.J. Lopez hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field, to put the Cougars ahead 2-1.
In their next turn at-bat, the RailCats tied the score back up. Woodworth and Michael Cruz base hits placed runners on the corners, and Olund snuck a single through the left side of the infield to level proceedings up at two.
It did not take long, however, for the Cougars to reclaim their lead as they strung together hit after hit in the bottom of the fourth inning. A double, walk, and two base hits pulled Kane County ahead 4-3 and loaded the bases with just one out. Manager Lamarr Rogers turned to relief pitcher Nick Garcia to work out of the jam, and he kept the Cougars offense at bay with a little help from the defense behind him. Chris Burgess sprawled out to make a diving stop at first base and threw home for a force out before Garcia induced a fly out, and the RailCats kept their deficit at one.
Despite leaving the bases full in the fourth, the Kane County offense re-ignited in the sixth inning and provided a vital insurance run. Leadoff hitter Ernie De La Trinidad smacked a single to right field with runners on the corners and pushed the Cougars advantage to 4-2.
Following a shutout seventh inning, Garcia departed after 3.1 innings of one-run, four-hit out of the bullpen, walking none and striking out one.
Gary SouthShore found their form in the batter’s box in the eighth inning and decreased the Kane County lead to one. Cruz and Walraven singled while Ray Jones got hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a Burgess sacrifice fly scored a run and deposited RailCats on first and third, but the Cougar bullpen danced out of danger and stranded the game-tying run 90-feet away.
Down to their final chance to hit, the RailCats once again had the Cougars on the ropes, Daniel Lingua drew a leadoff walk and immediately stole second base to put the equalizing run in scoring position once again, but Kane County held him right there to finish off the victory
The RailCats return home to The Steel Yard for the first time this season to host the Lincoln Saltdogs at 6:45 p.m. All the action will be streamed on aabaseball.tv as well as the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network via the Mixlr app.