O’FALLON, Mo. – Three days ago, the Wild Things were in first place in the Frontier League’s East Division.
However, following a three-game series at River City, the Wild Things are now in a fight to gain one of the league’s six playoff berths.
River City won both ends of a doubleheader against Washington, 8-6 and 6-5, Thursday to complete a series sweep at T.R. Hughes Ballpark.
The wins moved River City (56-34) back into a tie for first place in the West with Schaumburg and clinched a playoff berth for the Rascals.
Washington (52-37) lost for the eighth time in 12 games and fell 1½ games behind East co-leaders Evansville and Southern Illinois. Evansville was rained out Thursday and Southern Illinois won at Traverse City.
The Wild Things were unable to protect a three-run lead in the opening game and a four-run advantage in the nightcap.
River City second baseman Hector Crespo drove in the eventual winning run in each game. In the opener, Crespo had three hits and drove in two runs.
Washington forged a 3-0 lead in the second inning of the opener before River City scored eight unanswered runs and then held off a late charge by the Wild Things.
Washington hit three home runs but another rough outing by its starting pitcher sent the Wild Things to defeat. Scott Dunn (7-5) gave up nine hits and seven runs in three innings.
Scott Kalamar hit a solo homer in the first inning and Andrew Heck added a two-run shot in the second to put Washington ahead 3-0. River City scored two runs in the second and took the lead with a three-run third. Crespo gave the Rascals the lead for good at 4-3 with a run-scoring single.
River City led 8-3 in the fifth before Kalamar drove in Josh Henderson with a single. Jose Dore made it 8-6 with a two-run homer in the sixth. Washington had the potential tying run at the plate in the seventh but Nick Kennedy got the game’s final two outs for his first save.
In the second game, Washington led 5-1 in the fourth inning but the Rascals rallied against Washington relief pitcher Al Yevoli (3-5).
Heck and William Beckwith had run-scoring hits, and Dore contributed a two-run double in the second inning, as the Wild Things bolted to a 4-0 lead. Henderson hit a solo home run in the fifth that made the score 5-1.
River City, however, scored one run in the fourth against Washington starter Troy Marks and took the lead with a four-run fifth against Yevoli. It was Crespo‘s infield single that scored Joe Staley from third base and gave the Rascals a 6-5 lead.
Washington had Ryan Kresky on second base with no outs in the seventh, but River City closer Gabe Shaw struck out three consecutive batters to end the game and earn his 25th save.
Washington begins its final road series tonight at Gateway. The Grizzlies are the first team currently out of the playoffs but only 3½ games behind the Wild Things.