Romanski’s Bomb the Difference as Fish Win Opener
WINNIPEG, MB. – Josh Romanski was the hero and the defending champs are off and running.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes leftfielder went two-for-three with two runs scored and three driven in to open the 2017 American Association baseball season in Cleburne, Texas.
However, it was the three-run homer he hit in the seventh inning that broke a 2-2 deadlock and sent the Goldeyes to a 5-3 season-opening road victory over the expansion Cleburne Railroaders.
“It was a big hit for us at the right time,” said Goldeyes’ hitting coach Tom Vaeth on the CJNU post-game show. “We did a good job of getting some runners on in that inning so we could get to that point. It started with Wes’ clean base hit up the middle, and flipping the lineup over.”
Romanski hit a fastball from Cleburne reliever Onas Farfan to make the score 5-2 in the seventh. Clebrune added a run in the eighth off Goldeyes reliever Mitchell Lambson but Ryan Chaffee came on in the ninth and shut down the Railroaders in the bottom of the ninth.
The Goldeyes scored first in the top of the fourth when Romanski led off with a double into the right field corner, took third on a David Bergin groundout, and scored when Reggie Abercrombie lined an RBI single to centre field.
Cleburne answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Goldeyes tied it in the top of the sixth. Abercrombie singled to centre, stole second and scored the tying run when Shawn Pleffner singled back through the box.
O’Brien (1-0) started and earned the win for the Goldeyes, allowing two earned runs on just one hit over six innings. O’Brien walked two, struck out four, and became just the third pitcher in franchise history to make more than one Opening Night start.
“Mikey gave us a good start,” said Vaeth. “To get on the board early, and to come back late and score some big runs is just a great way to start. Mikey settled down and minimized (in the fourth). He kept us close, and gave us a chance to come back later in the game.
“A lot of people played well defensively,” Vaeth added. “It kind of carried over from the exhibition season. That’s what you need. Pitching, defense, and timely hitting. We were able to come up big in all three phases tonight.”
The Goldeyes and Railroaders play Game 2 of their four-game series on Friday at 7:06 p.m. Left-hander Kevin McGovern (0-0, 0.00) takes on right-hander Brandon Quintero (0-0, 0.00). All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU.
The Goldeyes’ 2017 home opener is next Monday, May 29, against the Sioux Falls Canaries at Shaw Park.
THE NOTEBOOK: The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed utility player Mason Katz on Thursday afternoon. Katz played at two levels in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization last year, hitting a combined .279 with three home runs and nine RBI in 19 games… Josh Romanski hit .356 against left-handed pitching last season, which was the best in the American Association among left-handed batters… The Goldeyes are now 15-9 on Opening Night, and evened their record to 7-7 when beginning the season on the road… The game was played in front of 4,375 fans. The Depot at Cleburne Station has a listed capacity of 4,200.
– Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo by Jeff Miller