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2017 season
Raley Field during the final game of the 2017 season.
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River Cats Finish Disappointing 2017 Season on Positive Note

Ending the 2017 season with a wild, impossible-to-believe ninth inning rally at Raley Field on Labor Day brought something positive to what had been a mostly down season for the Sacramento River Cats in its third year as the San Francisco Giants’ Triple A affiliate.

Slade Heathcott’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th, his second of the game, gave the River Cats a 10-9 win over El Paso and capped a five-run ninth inning comeback that featured four home runs, including Chris Shaw’s two-run homer – also his second of the game – that tied the game 9-9.

But while the final game of the season was a thrill to watch, overall, 2017 was pretty dismal for the River Cats, who failed to make the Pacific League playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Sacramento finished the season with a 64-77 record to earn a last-place finish in the PCL’s Pacific Northern Division.

Attendance at Raley Field saw Sacramento finish as one of three PCL teams to average more than 8,000 fans per game. Sacramento fans, who still showed their support for the team and love for baseball, averaged 8,032 per game. Perhaps hampered in part by an unusually hot summer, this number is down from 8,587 in 2016.

Good news lies ahead on Saturday, March 24, when the San Francisco Giants will return for an exhibition game at Raley Field to kick off the 2018 campaign. The Giants last appeared at Raley Field to open the 2016 season before a boisterous, sold-out crowd.

Here’s to hoping for a better season next year.

Mac Williamson watches his fifth-inning home run leave Raley Field on Aug. 30. He was called up to the Giants less than a week later.
River Cats players mingle with the fans before the 2017 finale at Raley Field
Slade Heathcott’s 10th-inning walk-off home run won the wild River Cats’ finale Labor Day at Raley Field.

Photos by Steve Martarano

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About the author

Steve Martarano

Steve Martarano

A resident of Sacramento since graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, Steve spent the 1980s at The Sacramento Union, working as a sports writer, music reviewer and crime reporter, among other assignments. He's spent the last 25+ years working in government public affairs for both state and federal agencies and currently is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Bay-Delta office in Sacramento. He has shot just about every local sports team for the Sacramento Press, including local colleges, the Sacramento River Cats and Sacramento Republic FC. He resides in Curtis Park with his wife Sharon.

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