09/17/2005 10:52 PM - For just the third time ever, it will take a fifth game to decide the 2005 Northern League Championship Series.
The Gary SouthShore RailCats scored 11 runs in the 5th and 6th innings and went on for a 12-4 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Saturday night at U.S. Steel Yard to even the finals at two games each.
The RailCats and RedHawks will decide the Northern League Championship on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in Gary. Jamie Bennett (10-5) will pitch for the RailCats against the 2005 Northern League Pitcher of the Year Brandon Culp (14-0).
In winning for the 2nd straight night to force a deciding game, the RailCats pounded 14 hits and received a strong performance from their ace, Willie Glen (pictured at right), The righthander held the RedHawks to eight hits and three runs in seven innings to improve to 2-0 in three playoff starts.
For the 2nd straight night, Gary fell behind 1-0 in the top of the 1st, when Richard Austin homered with two out. Gary tied the game off Fargo starter Todd George in the bottom of that frame on John Schmitz rbi single.
The score remained 1-1 until the 5th when Joe Mathis sacrifice fly put Fargo in front by a run. The RailCats then exploded for seven runs in the bottom of that inning. Fehlandt Lentinis ground out scored Curt Lee to tie the game and Ben Risingers rbi single two batters later gave the RailCats the lead.
George left with the bases loaded in a 3-2 game before the Fargo bullpen put it out of reach. Mike Peschel issued a two-run single and Tanner Townsend connected for a three-run homer off Mel Spivey to complete the seven-run outburst.
The RailCats scored four more times off Spivey in the 6th on two-run singles by Haake and Townsend. That duo combined to go 6-10 with nine rbi on the night. Schmitz finished 4-5 with two runs scored.
George, who won the 4th and deciding game of the Division Series versus Lincoln, issued eight hits and six runs with four walks in just 4.1 innings. Peschel and Spivey combined to allow six runs in 1.1 innings before Ramon Royce finished with 2.1 scoreless innings.
The final two Fargo runs came on a ground out by Clyde Williams in the 6th and a double by Kelley Gulledge in the 8th. Ruben Salazar was 3-4 and scored two of the RedHawks four runs.
This will be the 2nd straight year but just the third time ever that the Northern League Championship Series has gone the full five games. Duluth-Superior defeated Winnipeg in 1997 and St. Paul overcame a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Schaumburg, 10-6 in the 5th game in 2004.
2005 NORTHERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCHEDULE AND RESULTS (All Times Central)
Series Tied, 2-2
Game Date Results/Probables Time
1 Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Fargo-Moorhead 5, Gary 1
2 Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Fargo-Moorhead 5, Gary 4
3 Friday, Sept. 16 at Gary 7, Fargo-Moorhead 3
4 Saturday, Sept. 17 at Gary 12, Fargo-Moorhead 4
5 Sunday, Sept. 18 Fargo-Moorhead (Brandon Culp) at Gary (Jamie Bennett) 2:00 p.m.