Schmit's Game-Tying Double Not Enough, Railroaders Walk Off Birds
Photo courtesy Ry Tupper Photography
Blake Schmit hit a dramatic double to tie the game in the ninth, but the Sioux Falls Canaries lost in a heartbreaker to the Cleburne Railroaders on Tuesday.
Catcher Blake Grant-Parks drew a walk-off walk for the Railroaders in the bottom of the tenth, giving the home side a 3-2 win.
Cleburne opened the scoring in the second on a line-drive home run by Levi Scott, and added another in the third when a Trevor Sealey fielder's choice drove in Grant-Parks.
That score would hold for the next five frames, as both teams' pitching staffs kept Cleburne's lead at 2-0 through eight.
Cleburne starter Jared Mortensen worked eight shutout innings, throwing 139 pitches. He allowed four hits and a season-high six walks while striking out two. The Canaries left 11 runners on base in the first eight innings.
On the opposite side, the Birds' bullpen held strong in relief of starter Joe Bircher. Bircher went 4.2 innings for Sioux Falls, allowing two runs on four hits while walking five and striking out two. Kyle Schepel struck out Levi Scott to end the fifth inning.
Trevor Jaunich, Tyler Wolfe and Nicco Blank combined to throw the next four innings, allowing no runs on just one hit and striking out seven.
The Birds tied the game in dramatic fashion in the ninth. Mike Hart started the rally by reaching on a dropped third strike before Mitch Glasser singled.
Jordan Smith bunted those runners to second and third, setting the stage for Schmit's double. Jabari Henry and Chris Grayson were both retired to end the inning, leaving Schmit on second and the game tied.
Nicco Blank worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, and Birds manager Mike Meyer called on James Jones to pitch the tenth. Rafael Palmiero led off the inning with a single to right, capping off a night when the 20-year MLB veteran reached base four times.
Scott followed Palmeiro with a single of his own, and Alex Polston walked two batters later, loading the bases for Grant-Parks.
Jones missed a 3-1 pitch down and away, ending the game.
The Birds and Railroaders meet again Wednesday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station. First pitch is scheduled for 7:06pm. Birds fans can hear the game live on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN or online at kwsn.com.