The St. Paul Saints took home their second win of the season on Friday night, as they defeated the Gary Southshore Railcats 6-5 in a game that saw a furious ninth inning rally by the Railcats fall just short thanks to a spectacular play by Saints outfielder Breland Almadova.
The brunt of the action was in the first inning, as Gary got on the board first thanks to a one-out single by Masato Fukae, who advanced to second after Brennan Metzgen sacrificed him over. Fukae then scored when Jose Sermo singled to left field to give the Railcats an immediate 1-0 lead. The inning ended when Alex Crosby grounded out to first baseman Angelo Songco.
The Saints got their turn at bat in the bottom of the inning and put up a crooked number. It all started when Almadova drew a one-out walk. Willie Argo followed that up with a walk of his own, which was then followed by Songco drawing a walk to load the bases for Nate Hanson, who reached base on an error by the shortstop, which allowed Almadova to score, and advanced everybody else up a base.
Tony Thomas then stepped up to the plate and hit a single to left field that scored Argo, and kept the bases loaded for Tony Caldwell, who struck out for the second out of the inning. Tanner Vavra than stepped up to the plate and drew a walk, scoring Songco, and loading the bases for Sam Maus, who also drew a walk, allowing another run to score. Alonzo Harris then stepped up to the plate and grounded out to third to end the inning.
Eric Eadington, the Gary starting pitcher, lasted through the second inning but was removed after the inning in favor of a relief pitcher. That would be the end of the action until the sixth inning when each team scored a run. Gary got theirs when Jose Gonzales led off with a double to left field. He advanced to third when Jarred Mederos sacrificed him over, then scored when Cameron Newell singled to center field.
St. Paul got their run in the bottom of the inning when Caldwell led off with a home run to right field. That would be the end of the scoring for either team until the ninth inning, when the Railcats were able to put on a rally that forced the Saints to bring in Ryan Rodebaugh, their closer.
He inherited a bases loaded jam, with two outs. The final play of the game was wacky, as Tillman Pugh hit a double to right field that barely landed in fair territory. Elbert Devaire and Mederos scored, and Newell was thrown out at home to end the game and give the Saints a 6-5 victory.
- The Saints are now 2-0 on the season, the second straight year that they started the season 2-0.
- The same two teams will play on Saturday night when the Saints will send RHP Jeff Shields to the mound. The Railcats will counter with RHP Karl Triana.
- After the game, Saints manager George Tsamis said that Caldwell was the starting catcher, partly thanks to his hot start. So far, he is batting .375 this season and is a defensive wizard behind the plate.
- Robert Coe took home the win for the Saints after going 5.2 innings and giving up just one run. After the game, Tsamis said “He pitched OK, the whole team didn’t really play their best. It was an ugly win, but nevertheless, it was a win.”