FARGO-Chris Grayson made sure the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks didn't lose any precious ground in the wild-card standings.
Grayson laced a two-out, walkoff RBI double in the 11th inning to lift the RedHawks to a 7-6 victory against the St. Paul Saints on Saturday night, Aug. 26, in American Association baseball at Newman Outdoor Field before 3,388 fans.
"It's big," said Grayson, who went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. "Nobody in the dugout panics. ... We believe in each other and that's what gave me the confidence."
The RedHawks (51-39) have won four consecutive games and remained four games behind the Winnipeg Goldeyes for first place in the North Division.
F-M also stayed a half game behind Kansas City (52-39) in the wild card. The RedHawks knew they couldn't gain ground in the wild card heading into Saturday's game since Kansas City and Gary SouthShore were tied for first in the wild-card race and played each other.
Kansas City earned an 8-0 victory against Gary on Saturday to take sole possession of the wild card. The RedHawks, however, knew they couldn't afford to drop Saturday's game and lose ground.
"We've been in playoff mode because every game is playoff mode," Grayson said. "If we win, we take care of our own destiny."
The RedHawks had no one on base with two outs in the 11th before Yhoxian Medina started the rally with a single into center field. Grayson followed with a slicing double to the gap in left-center field, scoring Medina from first base.
"I knew it was ballgame because I know how we think as a team," Grayson said of seeing the ball reach the gap. "I did my job and he had done his job prior."
Grayson's game-winning hit set off a spirited celebration on the field. The RedHawks first went to celebrate with Medina at home plate as he scored, before running out toward second base to congratulate Grayson.
"That's RedHawks baseball," Grayson said. "That's what we do. We never panic."
The Saints tied the game in the eighth inning by plating one run. St. Paul second baseman Mitch Delfino reached on infield single that helped score J.J. Gould from second base. Gould was able to cross home plate after a Medina throwing error. Medina, who plays shortstop, was trying to throw Delfino out at first base and gloving the ball in the outfield grass. That tied the score at 6-6 and forced extra innings.
The RedHawks had to battle back from a deficit earlier in the game.
The Saints took early 4-0 lead before the RedHawks rallied. F-M left fielder Keury De La Cruz blasted a two-run home run in the second inning to cut the St. Paul lead to 4-2. The RedHawks grabbed a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning after K.D. Kang smacked a two-run home run.
"For these guys to battle like this, they showed themselves a lot, they showed me a lot, they showed the fans a lot," Schlact said. "It's great."