River Dragons walk it off for a 6-5 win in their final home game over the Catfish
ALTON, IL (Aug 4) – “The only team that can beat us is ourselves,” said GM Mark Hogan. He’s echoed that sentiment many times this season because he knows how talented this team is. Even with an incredible record of 39-18, you feel like Friday night in Alton was one of those games.
The Catfish have owned the River Dragons this season, 6-1 vs Alton coming into their last road game of the summer. Tonight they took an early 1-0 lead when the combo of Justin Carinci (Eastern Kentucky) and Brody Chrisman (Purdue) like they’ve done all season, produced a first inning run.
With Noah Gadberry (MAC) towing the rubber for at least a few innings tonight, a one run lead looked safe as Gadberry had the league’s 3rd best ERA. Alton would score one run in the first to tie the game and another in the second to take a 2-1 lead and Gadberry’s night would be over. “We are setting things up for the playoffs,” said Catfish Skipper Scott Little. “Noah has had a heck of a season and leads our team in innings, appearance and games so we just wanted to get him a little work before Sunday.”
Trailing 2-1, the Catfish turned to another local player, Kelly’s Bryce Morgan (MAC). Morgan was touched up in the 3rd for two runs and another in the 5th and would leave the game giving the Fish four innings much needed innings but with the Fish trailing 5-4.
The Fish trailed until the 9th when they scored a run and had bases loaded with one out but couldn’t score the go-ahead run. Lewis who relieved Ochoa to start the bottom of the 9th got the first two River Dragons but he then gave up a walk off home run to the big 6’4″ righty Erik Broekemeir. The Dragons would celebrate their last home game winner of the season as they know that’s all they have to celebrate. The Catfish come home to play in front of their home fans and hope to return the favor and get that 40th win on their final home game of the summer.
Regardless of tonights game or tomorrow nights game, the Catfish are set and ready for Sunday’s matchup vs Thrillville in a winner take all game. It’s a brutal way to do it but 58 games in 65 days comes down to a win or go home game Sunday night for the Fish. On paper, the Catfish look great. Head to head the Fish are 7-4 vs Thrillville. Records and what happened in June and July mean nothing. Thrillville swept a double header in mid July and the teams haven’t seen each other since. Sundays game is anyones game and the Catfish know that regardless of how many games they’ve won or how many categories they lead the league in, if they don’t bring their best Sunday night, they’ll all be headed home Monday.
“We’ve come to far and had too good of a season to see it end it on Sunday,” said Glenn Campbell the teams first year president. “But it’s baseball and anything can happen in a one game series. We need our fans to come out in a big way and support us like they have all season. Thrillville is a very good ball club and is very well coached.”
It’s been fun, it’s been different, records have been broken and etched and new stars have been made. Sunday night we’ll see if this team can make a run and end up in it’s 3rd Championship round in four seasons. Come out and see how it goes.