Rascals earn victory over Grizzlies

News-DemocratAugust 14, 2013 

— The River City Rascals' Will Block proved to be a thorn in the side of the Gateway Grizzlies on Wednesday at GCS Ballpark.

Block broke a 1-all tie with a two-run triple in the sixth inning to lead River City to a 4-2 win in a Frontier League game.

Block drove a 2-2 pitch from Gateway starter Matt Sergey off the center field wall which scored Danny Canela and Johnny Morales to give River City (37-39) a 3-1 lead. Morales drew a two-out walk to keep the inning going.

Gateway (45-32) cut its deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth on singles by newcomer Michael Wing and Chris McClendon and a sacrifice fly by Landon Hernandez.

But River City, getting a strong 6 2/3 inning effort from starter Craig Goodman and solid work from the bullpen, made sure a crowd of 1,978 went home unhappy.

"We just didn't play well enough to win and they (River City) did. It's pretty simple,'' Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said. "It's hard to get down on Matt (Sergey), because he pitched well. But after walking Morales, he came back and threw a fastball to a fastball hitter (Block) and he hit the first pitch off the centerfield wall for a triple.

"That's the difference of being a good pitcher and a great pitcher. You've got to be able to make a big pitch and get out of that situation.''

The loss keeps Gateway tied for the West Division lead with Schaumburg, which lost to Rockford 4-1 on Wednesday.

Acquired Tuesday from the Joliet Slammers for a player to be named later, Wing wasted little time in making his presence felt with the Grizzlies.

Jonathan Johnson coaxed a leadoff walk from Rascals starter Craig Goodman and the 24-year-old Wing hit the first pitch he saw down the leftfield line for a double.

Johnson then scored the Grizzlies first run on a Chris McClendon RBI ground out.

Wing, a 24-year-old Pasadena, Calif. native, also showed his defensive skill with a pair of excellent plays in the second and third innings.

River City didn't take long to tie the game at 1. Sergey walked Phil Wunderlich to lead off the second inning and Evan Crawford singled to put runners on first and second base with nobody out.

Johnny Morales then advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt and Will Block drove in Wunderlich with a ground out.

Both Sergey and Goodman settled down in the third and fourth innings before pitching out of a jam in the fifth.

Sergey allowed a leadoff double to Block who advanced to third when Sean Borman reached on a fielders choice. But Sergey retired the next three hitters -- two on strike outs -- to get out of the jam.

Gateway's Michael Pair reached on a two-out double in the bottom of the fifth but Goodman retired Jonathan Johnson to end the inning.

On deck: The Grizzlies and Rascals will meet for the final time this season tonight beginning at 7:05 p.m. Gateway then begins a crucial six-game road trip on Friday with the opener of a three-game series at Evansville.

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