O'FALLON, Mo. — The Gateway Grizzlies played into extra innings for the third time in four days and the second straight game against the River City Rascals, but emerged with a 7-5 victory in 10 innings Saturday to even their series at CarShield Field.
Andrew Daniel drove an RBI double to left-center field to score Brent Sakurai and give the Grizzlies (5-3) a 10th-inning lead. Daniel moved to third on a Shawon Dunston Jr. single and scored on a wild pitch.
Daniel and Dunston Jr. both extended their team-leading hitting streaks to five games. Daniel has at least one extra-base hit in all five; his 10th-inning double was his sixth two-bagger in five games this week, and he added a solo homer Friday in the series opener against the Rascals (5-4).
Gateway moved back into a tie for first place in the Frontier League's West Division with the Florence Freedom.
River City scored a first-inning run and led 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when the game entered a one-hour, 12-minute rain delay. After the delay, the Grizzlies finally broke through with four runs in the fifth.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Rafael Valera swung and missed at strike three, but the ball squeaked through Rascals catcher James Morisano's legs. Valera made it to first on the wild pitch Anthony Ray came home with the Grizzlies' first run. Connor Owings followed with a two-run double and Jamey Smart with an RBI single.
Ray was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a steal, and a run scored. Owings was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, and a walk. In the series, he is 4-for-6 with two home runs, a double, six RBIs, four walks, and three runs scored. Over the last two games, Owings has raised his batting average from .200 to .308 and his OPS from .683 to 1.178.
Dunston Jr. drove in the Grizzlies' fifth run with an RBI single in the eighth. His 2-for-5 game raised his team-best batting average to .314 and gave him his fifth multi-hit game out of eight Grizzlies contests this year. He added a walk Saturday.
Reign Letkeman tossed 3 2/3 innings and allowed only one run (unearned) with five strikeouts and no walks, but did not factor in the decision because the fourth-inning rain delay forced him from the game having thrown only 52 pitches.
Geoff Bramblett (1-0) earned the win in relief; Grant Black picked up his third save in as many opportunities in 2019. The game's last out was recorded at 11:26 p.m. CDT — four hours and 49 minutes after first pitch, although that includes the fourth-inning delay. The Grizzlies played a four-hour, 37-minute game Wednesday in Joliet that went 13 innings without any delays. Over the last four days, the Grizzlies have played five extra innings (spread over three games) and sat through nearly two hours of rain delays. Their start-to-finish game times (including delays) over the last four days total 16 hours and 29 minutes (4:07:15 per game).
Gateway will go for its third straight series win to open the season Sunday against a depleted River City pitching staff at 5:05 p.m. CDT. In each of their first two series, the Grizzlies have dropped the opener only to win the remaining two games. They can complete a third series in a row as such with a Sunday victory.
ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find - affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 10 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.