It may have been just another game on the schedule for most teams but Friday night’s game was not that for the RailRiders. It was time to celebrate before the 6:35 start time. This time to commemorate the 2016 National Championship team. With Reggie Jackson in attendance and handing out the rings, members of the RailRiders organization came out one by one and shook hands with Mr. October, and the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolfe.
On the field, the RailRiders continued their celebration with a 7-5 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens. Leading the way for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was Tyler Wade who reached base three times. In his first at-bat, he hit a towering home run to right field to give the RailRiders an early 1-0 lead.
“You go through your slumps and slides. You need to stick with your plans and approach. You just kind of trust the process.”, said Wade. “Hitting is contagious. When you see guys top to bottom putting together good at-bats it makes you want to go up there and fight. Hats off to the guys in front me that keep battling.”
Also contributing on the offensive end was second baseman Cito Culver, who singled and tripled in a run. While Wade and Culver were the catalysts, the entire RailRiders offense was clicking against Toledo pitching. All nine starts collected at least one hit in a 12-hit effort.
On the mound for the RailRiders was Brady Lail who got off to a shaky start but rebounded nicely as the game progressed. Lail ran into trouble in the top of the second when the Mud Hens hit three doubles and capped off their four-run inning with a two-run home run to left field by Michael Almanzar.
Lail finished his evening with 5.2 innings pitched, allowing six hits and five earned runs. He walked three and struck out one, improving his record to 3-2.
Following Lail, was Tyler Webb who continued his stellar season striking out two batters along the way to retiring four batters. Ben Heller relieved Webb and proceeded the dominance. Heller closed the door with a two-inning save while striking out four.
Starting for the Mud Hens was former major league pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez, who has a no-hitter under his belt, left the game in the fifth inning after appearing to hurt his left leg on a pitch to Gleyber Torres. Sanchez gave up five runs in his five-plus innings. He was relieved by Victor Alcantara who also struggled. During his 2.2 innings, he gave up four hits and three runs. He also took the loss, which was his first of the season.
Though it was believed Ernesto Frieri opted out of his contract, he was up in the bullpen warming up. Before the game, Frieri was packing his bags, and saying his goodbyes.
After the game, Frieri cleared everything up. “There was a misunderstanding between my agent and me. We talked last night and that we opted out and I did not know there were different options to opt out.”, said Frieri. “I got two more days. Today and tomorrow. The Yankees have the option to do whatever they want.”
Frieri proclaimed his wanting to opt out but it is now in the Yankees hands.