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RedHawks bid to make playoffs falls short after 8-3 loss at Winnipeg

Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks starting pitcher Will Solomon delivers against the Winnipeg Goldeyes during American Association action at Shaw Park on Mon., Sept. 4, 2017. Kevin King/Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia Network1 / 3
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks designated hitter Chris Grayson fouls off a pitch during American Association action against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at Shaw Park on Mon., Sept. 4, 2017. Kevin King/Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia Network2 / 3
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks left-fielder Keury De La Cruz swings through a pitch during American Association action against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at Shaw Park on Mon., Sept. 4, 2017. Kevin King/Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia Network3 / 3

WINNIPEG -- Needing to win their final regular-season American Association baseball game on Monday, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks’ bid to make the playoffs fell short with an 8-3 loss at Winnipeg.

While the RedHawks were fighting for their playoff lives, Gary SouthShore and Kansas City were producing walkoff wins to keep their playoff hopes alive. That was the down-to-the-wire scenario in American Association baseball Monday, when those three teams were battling for the wild-card playoff spot.

The RedHawks finish their season with a 57-43 record. Meanwhile, Gary advances to the playoffs due to holding the tie-breaker advantage over Kansas City.

“It stings a little when Fargo, Gary and Kansas City  all end the season with the same record and you can’t move on,” said RedHawks interim manager Michael Schlact. “To fall short on the last day, it definitely hurts. But you can’t take anything away from our players. These guys came together and gave it everything they had. We realized we were a good team.”

While the RedHawks were trailing Winnipeg 5-2 in the seventh inning, Gary scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to claim a 3-2 win over Lincoln and Kansas City scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to claim a 9-8 win over St. Paul.

“We weren’t aware of that (the scores) until the ninth inning when they announced that Gary had won,” Schlact said. “Our job when we walked into the park was to win the game and we fell short.”

With those walkoff wins, the RedHawks had to win to prolong their season against a Winnipeg team that has the best record in the American Association.

But it wasn’t to be. After scoring two runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh to take a 5-2 lead, Winnipeg added three more runs in the eighth to make it 8-2.

Winnipeg catcher Mason Katz blasted three home runs. He hit a solo shot in the second two more in the seventh and eighth innings.. The three homers were part of a four-hit day for Katz. Second baseman Casey Turgeon added three hits for Winnipeg, including a double.

Winnipeg righthander Charle Rosario struck out six over seven innings, earning the win. He limited the RedHawks to two runs on four hits.

Fargo-Moorhead designated hitter Chris Grayson and catcher Charlie Valerio each homered in their team’s season-ending game.

Schlact, who replaced longtime RedHawks manager Doug Simunic last month when he was relieved of his duties, said he would love to come back next season.

“I don’t know what the future holds right now,” Schlact said. “But I love this organization. I love this town, the fans and everything about it. I am thankful for the RedHawks and the season. It was a special season.”

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