PRO BASEBALL

RailCats hope offense has regained rhythm

2013-08-03T21:00:00Z 2013-08-03T23:27:10Z RailCats hope offense has regained rhythmHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

GARY | When June ended, the RailCats won 10 of their final 11 games in the month and found nearly every piece of their team clicking.

Offense was good, pitching was solid and the defense was finding its rhythm.

When July opened, the offense went nearly silent.

Timely hitting, or finding the hit with players on base, was lacking. The RailCats lost three of their first four games in July. They were out-hit in each loss and by the time the RailCats returned from an eight-game road streak that started the month, manager Greg Tagert said he wouldn't hesitate to shake up his roster to find the hits he needed.

The team quickly brought in infielders Ryan Brockett and Nick Liles, who played in a combined 20 games.

As if like a switch, the RailCats' August returned the spirit of June, with July far behind.

In the eighth inning of Friday's late game against St. Paul, sometime close to midnight Saturday, Ryan Babineau, in a pinch-hit role, knocked a two-out, bases-loaded single that broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning.

"It was one of those timely hits that's been a little bit missing and to come at a big opportune time to drive in two runs, to drive in multiple runs," Tagert said. "It's something that, what it does is help Ryan Babineau more than anything, the next time that comes up. Maybe it helps everyone else on a bump relax a little, too, and that's what we're looking for."

The RailCats added another run on a single from Liles, who has seven hits in his 12 games with the team.

The 'Cats had 10 hits in their game Friday that opened August. Among those that impressed Tagert was a first-inning, two-out RBI double by Christian Vitters that gave the RailCats a 2-0 lead. Vitters was 2-for-4 for his fourth straight multi-hit game.

"The lineup will find you some way, it'll find you those spots," Tagert said. "What's important is what goes to show what Christian has done for us."

The RailCats used a timely hit from Brian Kolb on Saturday when a sixth-inning no-out single scored two to give Gary a 3-0 lead against the Saints.

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