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Gary SouthShore goes for 17 hits in win over RedHawks

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FARGO -- The bats of Gary SouthShore came alive Sunday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field, as the RailCats compiled 17 hits in their 9-7 win over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (10-12) in front of 3,552 fans.

RedHawks starting pitcher DJ Brown entered Sunday with an ERA of 2.31 through four starts. It was an uncharacteristic outing for him, as he went five innings, giving up four earned runs on 10 hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

“(Gary) is a pretty solid hitting team, they don’t get fooled by a lot,” Brown said. “It was just one of those days. They were putting the bat on the ball and putting the ball in play.”

Gary (14-8) came out swinging, as Alex Crosby hit a leadoff home run to left field on the second pitch of the game. The RailCats added another run later in the first inning, when Garrett Copeland drove in Andy DeJesus with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

After an uneventful second and third, Andy Paz kicked off the fourth with a leadoff double. He tried scoring from second a couple batters later, but was thrown out by center fielder Devan Ahart. Christoph Bono then scored Reggie Wilson with an RBI double to right field, giving Gary a 3-0 lead.

The fifth innings was the turning point of the game, as six total runs were scored. In the top half, Colin Willis hit a solo home run off the right-field foul pole to give the RailCats a 4-0 lead.

Tommy Mendonca singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and two batters later, Brennan Metzger hit a single. Maikol Gonzalez followed Metzger’s single by driving in Mendonca on an RBI double and giving the RedHawks their first run of the game.

After an Ahart strikeout, Keury De La Cruz grounded a single through the left side, scoring Metzger and Gonzalez. On the very next pitch, Charlie Valerio crushed a two-run homer to left field, giving the RedHawks a 5-4 lead.

He knew what to expect in the beginning of the at-bat and took full advantage.

“I was looking for a changeup because every time I’m up to bat, the first pitch on me is an off-speed pitch,” Valerio said. “When he threw it to me, I got a good one and flicked my bat and enjoyed the moment.”

The next two innings featured only one hit, but the momentum swung back to Gary in the eighth.

Crosby and DeJesus reached on singles and Mitch Glasser followed by hitting an RBI infield single that hit off the arm of RedHawks pitcher Jose Nivar.

Willis followed Glasser’s single by launching his second home run of the game, giving Gary an 8-5 lead.

Gary added one more in the ninth, pushing its lead to 9-5.

Ahart scored Metzger in the bottom of the ninth and Keury De La Cruz followed by driving in Maikol Gonzalez on an RBI groundout. Gary’s lead was cut to two, but the RedHawks’ rally stopped there.

F-M manager Michael Schlact was proud of the effort from his team after being in an early deficit.

“We fell behind early and we didn’t give up at all,” Schlact said. “Obviously, the game didn’t end in our favor, but you see the resiliency of the lineup. There was no quit. … We believe in each other in that clubhouse.”

Gary 200 110 041--9 17 0FM 000 050 002--7 11 0Gary--Gunn (55), Quintana (24), Steele (5), Perez (12) and Paz (96). FM--Brown (61), Ballew (7), Pacillo (6), Nivar (23), McCurry (10), Ernst (9) and Valerio (107), DeLuca (9). WP--Quintana. LP--Nivar