RailCats Swept By DockHounds
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Gary, IN – In the first-ever matchups between these two teams in the American Association, the Gary SouthShore RailCats could not match up against the Lake Country DockHounds as they dropped both games, 4-3 and 6-0, in their scheduled doubleheader.
Though the DockHounds took an early lead in game one and held on throughout, the RailCats continued to hang around and make their opposition sweat it out.
Lake Country produced three runs in their first two turns at-bat, but the RailCats responded in a big way during the bottom of the second inning. Sam Abbott launched his second home run in as many games at The Steel Yard into the bullpen in right field to put his team on the board and cut the DockHounds lead to 3-1.
Starting pitcher and professional baseball debutant Zack LeBlanc held the DockHounds off the scoreboard through the third and fourth innings before Aaron Phillips took over in the fifth. After inheriting a baserunner, Phillips closed out his first frame out of the bullpen by stranding runners at the corners.
The Gary SouthShore offense took that momentum and turned it into a run as they reduced their deficit to one right away. Jackson Smith doubled with one out, and Daniel Lingua brought him home on a single shortly thereafter.
Lake Country did tack on an insurance run in the top of the sixth, but the RailCats neutralized it in their half of the inning. Zach Racusin crushed a home run over the left-field wall, his third in two games, to make it 4-3.
Phillips recorded a zero in the top of the seventh, the game’s final inning, and the RailCats offense immediately placed themselves in a position to tie the game. Alec Olund led off by doubling, and Smith moved him up 90 feet on his sacrifice bunt. However, the RailCats ran out of luck, as the DockHounds stranded the game-tying run at third and held on to win.
They transferred that positive momentum straight into game two and plated four runs in the second inning, all with two outs. In the blink of an eye, Lake Country found themselves ahead 4-0.
Following a couple of dormant innings, the DockHounds got their lineup going again in the sixth inning, and they tallied two more runs to increase their advantage to six.
Even as the final scoreline showed a six-run loss, the RailCats still had reasons to feel optimistic. Daniel Lingua increased his team-leading hitting streak to eight games and pushed his batting average up to .382, good for third in the league. Jack Eisenbarger struck out every batter he faced in the seventh inning, and Michael Woodworth flashed the leather at second base, proving why he is one of the best defensive infielders throughout the American Association.
Both teams have a day off tomorrow, but they return to The Steel Yard for the series finale, the only nine-inning game of the series, at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday as Leif Strom (0-0, 1.96 ERA) and Alex McCrae (1-0, 3.70 ERA) take the mound. All the action will be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network on the Mixlr app.