PRO BASEBALL

RailCats first-game success leads to relaxed 'halftime'

2013-08-20T21:15:00Z 2013-08-21T00:21:04Z RailCats first-game success leads to relaxed 'halftime'Hillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

GARY | The RailCats clubhouse after winning game one of Tuesday's double header against Wichita in seven innings was as lively as it is after any single-game victory.

The team handed out game awards, grabbed a quick snack and then retook the field.

That's precisely what manager Greg Tagert hopes his team will do.

"I want them to be handing out awards," Tagert said with a laugh. "We've had our feel of double headers. The most important thing is that the starting pitcher for game two doesn't get caught off guard. If the game ends abruptly or quicker ... there's one that if you have a game less than two hours, your starting pitcher is caught."

Especially after the first game, a 7-4 victory, Tagert didn't want his team to lose its momentum. The RailCats scored seven runs in the second inning and never looked back.

The six hits in the inning, that were part of seven hits in the game, gave the RailCats a boost that has been lacking recently. The 'Cats had four of those hits with two out.

"We haven't done well with the two-out hit lately, and they did that tonight," Tagert said. "What I have seen is that they've hit some balls extremely hard."

When the second game started, Mike Massaro, who had a couple hard-hit balls caught in center field in the first game, hit his second inside-the-park home run of the last 16 days and the second of his career.

Over the course of the previous eight games that included six losses, the RailCats had eight or more hits in six games and lost all but one of those.

"They've hit the ball hard," Tagert said. "I think that's as important as anything, that sense of frustration that can creep in, not that they feel sorry for themselves, but they came back out in the second inning and responded. You want guys to be rewarded when they hit the ball hard."

After allowing a first-inning run in the second game, Stephen Hiscock, the starting pitcher of Game 2, allowed two base runners over the next two innings.

"Baseball fools a lot of guys in that relaxed atmosphere," Tagert said. "I think some of the clubs that don't do well in double headers is not used to having that lull, because you don't have a halftime like in football. I could compare that a little bit to a halftime in football. I think were it not for the starting pitcher, these games could get going in 15 minutes."

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