(Photo Credit: Mick Lite)
The Gateway Grizzlies let an early 3-0 lead slip away against the River City Rascals on Saturday night, falling 12-3 at GCS Ballpark.
The Grizzlies struck early in the game’s first inning when they loaded the bases with no one out and scratched across two runs. Madison Beaird walked to start the game against LHP Tommy Organ (1-0) and came around to score on a wild pitch. Ben Waldrip then delivered a sacrifice fly to plate Ryan Soares from third, making it 2-0.
Gateway (6-15) tacked on another in the third inning with a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Rolando Gomez, but that would be the final run for the Grizzlies’ offense before the Rascals (12-8) took control.
Grizzlies’ starter JaVaun West (2-2) danced in and out of trouble early in the game, but ran into a heap of problems in the top of the fourth. Rascals’ second baseman Hector Crespo started the inning with a solo homer, while the next three hitters all reached base. With the bases loaded, Rascals’ centerfielder Curran Redal ripped a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3.
River City then took the lead on a groundout that plated Redal. West then allowed the final blow of the fourth inning as Danny Canela blasted a two-run shot to right field. RHP David Murillo replaced West and escaped the fourth with no further damage.
Murillo wasn’t as sharp in the fifth inning, as River City’s Saxon Butler hit a two-run homer to extend the Rascals’ lead to 8-2. River City tacked on three more runs in the sixth when Murillo allowed another two-run blast to Canela which was followed by Taylor Ard’s solo homer. The Rascals would end up scoring 12 unanswered runs against Grizzlies’ pitching.
One bright spot for the Grizzlies on Saturday night was late relief pitching. LHP Jordan Sechler pitched a scoreless inning while RHP Jordan Wellander allowed only one run in his frame on the bump. Right-hander Zach Loraine also pitched a quick and scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
The Grizzlies and Rascals play the rubber game of their three-game set on Sunday evening at GCS Ballpark. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. Gateway sends RHP Tyler Thompson (0-2, 3.52 ERA) to the mound against Rascals’ righty Joe Scanio (3-1, 3.19 ERA). The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which includes 101 ESPN’s digital platforms and 1400 AM KJFF.