The Roanoke Rails battled the Carolina Pirates in the comfy confines of James River High School on Sunday, with mixed results. Kiwanis Field (The Home of the Rails) was unavailable on Sunday, therefore, the Rails would play the first of two doubleheaders (this season) in beautiful Buchanan.
Botetourt County’s Zack Kelly (Concord) was on the mound for the Rails which usually spells doom for the visiting ball club, and this afternoon’s game one would follow suit. After Kelly dismissed the Pirates on six pitches in the top of the first, the Rails immediately thanked their hurler with a run in the bottom of the inning. Devin Cassity (Roanoke College) took a lead-off four pitch walk from Pirate starter Christian Gonnelli (UConn-Avery Point), stole second base, and scored on Christian Sanderson’s (Randolph-Macon) single up the middle.
In the second, Cal Hodgert (Roanoke College) knocked a base hit to left field and moved to third base on a sharp Nic Love (EMU) double. With two out in the inning Sanderson lined another single to score both runners and give the Rails a three run lead.
Kelly cruised along until the visitors half of the fourth when the Pirates mounted an uprising. A walk by Chris Martinez (Emory & Henry) and singles by Dillon Stewart (Brunswick CC), Nic Debo (Brunswick CC), Jacob Cagle (North Carolina Central), Shawn Montren (Barton College), Cullen Cicotte (Chowan U, and great, great nephew of White Sox star pitcher Eddie Cicotte), tied the score at three runs apiece.
In the home half of the fifth the Rails rose again. A Jack Elliott (Hampden-Sydney) single, two infield errors and a very timely double by Pat Love (EMU) put the Rails in the driver’s seat with a three run lead. Kelly went the distance gaining his third win of the season.
Game two was a disaster. With none of the Rails starting pitchers available, Coach Sink went to his bullpen and fashioned a starter by committee as did the Pirates.
The Rails struck the first blow with a first inning off-the-wall double by Luke Setzer (Catawba) scoring Sanderson and added a second run when Lincoln Evans (Lynchburg College) singled, stole second base and scored on another Setzer two-bagger. Evans would score again on a Jack Elliott (Hampden-Sydney) single in the fifth.
As for the rest of the game, don’t ask. Ten Pirate hits (including four doubles), four Rails errors, and a perplexing infield fly rule non-call , turned the game into some Barnum and Bailey might promote. Final score; Rails 3 Pirates 13 Umpire 0 in six innings. Somewhere, Eddie Cicotte is smiling.