KANSAS CITY, Kan. 6-17-2010 – For the fourth night in a row the Gary SouthShore RailCats dug themselves a big early hole – this time 8-1 at the end of four innings – and Thursday night they could not come all the way back, falling 11-6 to the Kansas City T-Bones at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
The ‘Cats won two of the four games in the series despite facing at least a five-run deficit in each game, but Thursday’s early Kansas City lead was too much for the RailCats to overcome. It looked as though the ‘Cats might be mounting another uprising in the fifth, when they did score four times, but Kansas City had an answer, extending their lead on a Brian Joynt homer in the bottom of the fifth and the RailCats would get no closer the rest of the way.
The RailCats scored first for the first time Thursday, getting a run in the first inning when Adam Klein reached on an infield single, went to third on a Jay Pecci double and scored when Mike Massaro grounded out. Kansas City answered in a big way, though, scoring twice in each of the first four innings while hitting two of their four home runs to build the 8-1 lead.
John Parham got the big RailCats fifth inning going with a line drive single and went to second on a Chris Carrara base hit. Klein walked to load the bases and Pecci just missed a grand slam with a double off the wall in left-center, scoring Parham and Carrara. Klein would come around to score when Massaro singled off Kansas City starter Ryan Knippschild (5-1), and Pecci came home on a Louis Ott base hit.
The T-Bones wasted no time rebuilding their lead, however, with Joynt’s second longball of the day making it 9-5. On the next pitch, RailCats starter Brad Halsey (1-2) hit Kansas City’s Ryan Fox and was ejected from the game as both dugouts emptied without incident. Keanon Simon added Kansas City’s fourth home run – and 11th of the series – in the seventh to provide the final margin.
Pecci went 3-for-5 with three doubles, following up Ott’s three double effort Wednesday night with one of his own. Pecci’s two-base hits came in each of his first three at bats. Carrara went 2-for-4 at the bottom of the RailCats order to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Ott and Massaro also each had two hits, as Ott improved to 9-for-11 over the last three games.
Joynt had three hits in the win, with his eighth and ninth home runs of the year to take over the Northern League lead. Eladio Rodriguez also had two hits, with Simon adding three RBI. Knippschild went 6.2 innings in the win – his league-leading fifth of the year – and allowed five earned runs on nine hits.
The four game series featured 79 runs on 112 hits combined for the two teams, and saw each club notch at least 10 hits in each game. The RailCats came into the series with the worst team batting average in the league, and leave Kansas City with their team average up over .250 for the first time all year. On the flip side, RailCats starters allowed 30 earned runs in 17.2 IP in Kansas City to put the ‘Cats in their big holes each night.
The RailCats (15-12) finally come home after a seven-game road trip to start a three-game weekend series Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Rockford RiverHawks (11-15). Right-hander Brandon Magee (3-2, 2.64 ERA) will get the ball first for the ‘Cats as Rockford counters with Kyle Wright (2-1, 3.15 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
It’s another Fireworks Friday at U. S. Steel Yard, with a great postgame fireworks spectacular planned courtesy First Midwest Bank and the Post-Tribune. The first 1,000 adults (18 and over) will also get a free $25 gift certificate to Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Schererville, and one of those lucky gift certificates can be redeemed in store for a free diamond! Tickets are still available by calling 219.882.2255, logging on to www.railcatsbaseball.com or visiting the U. S. Steel Yard Box Office.
Notes: The RailCats finish their seven-game road trip 4-3 … the last nine games in Kansas City between the two teams have each featured at least a combined 12 runs … Pecci had two doubles all season before Thursday’s three-double effort … Thursday’s crowd was 9,703, the third-largest crowd in CommunityAmerica Ballpark history.