Sioux Falls, SD – Though they trailed by at least three runs on two separate occasions, the Gary SouthShore RailCats (11-10) refused to give up. A pair of furious comebacks helped them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as they took down the Sioux Falls Canaries (8-13) 11-10.
The Canaries came out swinging right away, putting the RailCats in an early hole and providing them with their first big test. Two singles plated runs in the bottom of the first before Darnell Sweeney launched a solo home run in the second, giving Sioux Falls an early 3-0 edge.
However, the RailCats erased that deficit immediately in the top of the third. A bases-loaded double play supplied their first run, and Gio Díaz followed it up by doubling down the right field line to pull within one. The next batter, Victor Nova, roped a single to bring Díaz home, leveling the score.
Shortly thereafter, Gary SouthShore completed their first comeback in the fourth. Francisco Del Valle blasted a solo home run, propelling the ‘Cats ahead 4-3.
Díaz stepped up once again in the top of the fifth to lengthen the Gary SouthShore lead. Daniel Lingua led off by legging out an infield single and promptly stealing second, enabling the designated hitter to bat with a runner in scoring position. He quickly capitalized on the opportunity by grooving a double to left field, chasing Lingua home and placing the RailCats ahead 5-3.
Behind by a pair, the Canaries wasted no time restoring their advantage. An error and single opened the frame, and Jabari Henry crushed a three-run home run to move Sioux Falls in front 6-5.
Upon going back on top, the Canaries went right to work on furnishing themselves with insurance runs. Two bases-loaded walks and an error resulted in four tallies to implement a five-run cushion heading into the game’s final third.
Sioux Falls proceeded to reduce the RailCats to their final four outs, but the bottom of the order came to the rescue to ignite their second comeback. Nova and Del Valle drew walks to set up Jesus Marriaga with two runners on base, and he delivered a three-run shot that lowered the Gary SouthShore deficit to two.
The Canaries tacked on another insurance tally in the bottom of the eighth, but the RailCats did not flinch in their next turn to bat. Lingua and Díaz collected base hits to locate runners on the corners, and the ensuing batter, Nova, cranked a three-run home run to re-tie the score at 11.
DJ Wilkinson entered out of the bullpen to set down the top of the Sioux Falls order in the bottom of the ninth to send the ballgame to extras, and the RailCats pounced on the opportunity to reestablish a lead in the top of the 10th. The extra-innings base runner, Emmanuel Tapia advanced to third on a fielder’s choice, and Marriaga promptly drove him in on a well-struck single, positioning Gary SouthShore three outs away from a victory.
The Canaries managed to plant the winning run on first base in the bottom of the 10th, but in his second inning of work, Wilkinson was unfazed. He struck Henry out before coaxing a flyout and groundout on back-to-back hitters to hammer down the win.
The RailCats head back to Sioux Falls Stadium tomorrow at 12:05 p.m. as they aim for their second straight win against the Canaries. All the action will be streamed on www.aabaseball.tv and broadcast over the radio on 95.9 WEFM and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network via the Mixlr app.