The Gary SouthShore RailCats announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Kaleb Fontenot on Monday. Fontenot was 1-0 with an 8.10 ERA in three relief appearances with the Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers Class-A Advanced Affiliate) of the Carolina League before signing his first Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) contract with Gary.
Fontenot began his professional baseball career in 2016 after getting selected by the Texas Rangers in the 21st round of the 2016 MLB Draft as a redshirt-senior out of McNeese State University. The right-hander spent all of 2016 with the Spokane Indians (Class-A Short Season Affiliate) of the Northwest League, going 0-2 with three saves and a 4.17 ERA in 19 appearances (three starts). In 36.2 innings pitched, Fontenot allowed 21 runs (17 earned) on 38 hits and 16 walks and struck out 41 batters. Fontenot tossed a hitless inning of relief in his professional baseball debut on June 18 vs. the Vancouver Canadians and didn’t allow a run in his first four innings and five of his first six games.
A native of Villa Platte, La., Fontenot was promoted to the Hickory Crawdads (Class-A Affiliate) of the South Atlantic League in 2017, and had a career year in his first season of full-season baseball. The right-hander posted a career-best five wins, 3.06 ERA, 41 relief appearances, 22 games finished, six saves, 85.1 innings pitched, 96 strikeouts, .214 opponents batting average, 1.07 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9 (walks per nine innings), 10.1 SO/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) and a 3.84 SO/W (strikeout-to-walk ratio). Fontenot didn’t allow a run in six of his first seven appearances and didn’t allow a run in a career-best 13 consecutive innings between May 21 and June 11.
After a career-year with Hickory in 2017, Fontenot was promoted to Down East in 2018. In 69.1 innings pitched, Fontenot went 2-3 with one save and a 3.25 ERA in 35 games (one start). The right-hander allowed 36 runs (25 earned) on 71 hits and 25 walks and struck out 58 hitters over 69.1 innings. Fontenot also went a season-best 10.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run between June 13 and July 9.
Gary opens the 2019 regular season on Friday, May 17 in Rosemont, Ill., against the Chicago Dogs at Impact Field. The RailCats home opener at U.S. Steel Yard is on Tuesday, May 21 vs. the Sioux City Explorers. Tuesday’s home opener features a free magnet schedule giveaway, presented by Northwest Indiana Orthopedic and Spine Center at Methodist Hospitals, and Post-Game Fireworks. Tuesday’s home opener is also Gary Community Night, presented by Fifth Third Bank, and is the first Taco Tuesday and Community HealthNet Health Centers Tuesday of the season.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.