Canaries Rally Falls Short In Extra Innings
The Sioux Falls Canaries suffered their first extra-inning heartbreaker of the year Monday night as they fell 6-5 to the Gary SouthShore Railcats at the Birdcage in the first game of a two-game series. Canaries starting pitcher Joe Bircher struck out six and allowed three runs through 6.1 innings for the home team, who was looking to rebound after an 8-2 loss Sunday against the Sioux City Explorers.
“This game just got away from us,” said catcher Kevin Dultz, who went 1 for 4 with 2 RBIs on the evening. “There’s no panic.”
Sioux Falls faced a 1-0 hole for most of the game before tying things up in the bottom of the sixth on a single by third baseman Carlos Mendez. However, the tie was short-lived as the Railcats replied with four runs in the following half-inning, the first coming on a double by Zac Mitchell. Three more would reach home plate before three outs were recorded, putting the Canaries in a four-run hole heading to the home half.
A booming two-run double off the left field wall by Dultz provided fans a glimpse of hope and brought Sioux Falls within 5-3 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. 5-3 became 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth when Chris Duffy scored on an easy putout, though the play did get Stephen Branca in scoring position on second with one out. Chris Valencia evened things back up with an opportunistic two-out dribbler through short to head both squads into extra innings knotted up at 5.
The tenth inning got off to a controversial start as Railcat infielder Wally Backman beat out Canaries relief pitcher Alan DeRatt to first base for an infield single. Backman eventually tallied the game-winning score on a sharp single by Zac Mitchell, his 2nd RBI of the night. Sioux Falls had a prime chance to tie or even win the game in their half with the bases loaded and only one out but wouldn’t quite be able to pull through for the W.
“We can’t worry about this,” said Dultz. “We’ll come out tomorrow and fire right back at ‘em.”
The Canaries will return to the Birdcage tomorrow night to finish off the short series against the Railcats at 7:05.