Pro baseball

RailCats catch hitting milestone

2013-05-28T22:00:00Z 2013-05-28T23:55:04Z RailCats catch hitting milestoneBy Hillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

GARY | In the fourth inning, the RailCats reached a milestone oddly calculated, but one that will live on in franchise lore.

Outfielder Drew Martinez recorded RailCats' hit No. 10,000, dating back to the first game on May 23, 2002 at Sioux Falls.

Manager Greg Tagert certainly has his most memorable hits of the 10,000 in history.

"Jay Pecci's two-run homer against Winnipeg in '08 to send us to the Championship Series and win 2-1," Tagert said. "I guess Pecci's is so visual because I've seen it so many times and Mike Reese was trying to push it fair because it hit off the foul pole out there in Winnipeg.

The RailCats went on to win the game in Winnipeg in 2008, advancing to the championship series against Kansas City. That season, the 'Cats lost the Northern League title in rain-delayed four games to the T-Bones.

"The other one would be Anthony Iapoce in Game 5 in '05," Tagert said. "He led off the game with a triple, and set the tone."

Iapoce, who had been sidelined with a thumb injury, returned for the postseason and opened the fifth game of the five-game series with the triple, then later scored the first run of the game. The RailCats scored twice in that first inning on Sept. 18, 2005, in a 2-1 win over Fargo-Moorhead.

When it comes to hits that win championships, none of the current RailCats have been a part of the two in club history.

That makes picking a memorable hit hard, said Mike Massaro, who 280 of those hits, including a double in the first inning.

"We haven't won a championship, so there isn't one that really sticks out," Massaro said. "If you have one that wins championships, those are easier to remember. Hopefully, we'll have one of those this year."

Cristian Guerrero, who holds franchise records for home runs in a season (19) and a career (59), said that a hit is just a chance to help the club.

"Every one of them is important," the outfielder said.

Adam Klein, who entered Tuesday's game with the team lead in hits with 14, said he didn't have to think that far back to his favorite.

"Does it have to be one of mine?" he asked. 

Then he recalled a hit from the home opener on May 16, a single that came in the 11th inning that scored the game-winning run.

"The most recent ones are the ones you remember the most," Klein said.

The RailCats have not been no-hit in a game in franchise history.

"It's just like retiring a player's number, or the 10th-anniversary team, it does prove how established we've become," Tagert said. "At least it gives you a sense that you're an established franchise when it's through accomplishments like this."

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