Explorers Fall in Sioux Falls But Clinch Playoff Spot
Sioux Falls, SD (September 6, 2021) – The Sioux City Explorers lost to the Sioux Falls Canaries 3-2 in the regular season finale but have still clinched a spot in the postseason by virtue of the Houston Apollos defeating the Lincoln Saltdogs 2-0.
The Sioux City Explorers have made the postseason for the ninth time in their franchise history, and their fifth under manager Steve Montgomery.
Sioux City will now meet the Cleburne Railroaders in the South Division Wild Card Game, a one game, winner takes all, on Wednesday night at 7:06 pm in Cleburne. The winner will meet the Kansas City Monarchs in the South Division Championship Series which will be a best out of five.
The Canaries struck early on as Trey Michalczewski hit a solo home run to left to put the Birds up 1-0.
Michael Lang countered in the next half inning with a double down the left field line with two outs to score Errol Robinson from first to tie the game.
However the Canaries scored unanswered runs in the next two consecutive innings in the third and fourth first on a Cade Gotta two out double and then a Mike Hart sacrifice fly to pull ahead 3-1.
Zach Hedges (8-5) took the loss in a gutsy performance. After tossing seven innings and collecting ten strikeouts on Friday night, he took the ball on only two days of rest and went four innings allowing three runs on six hits with a strikeout and no walks.
Sioux City trimmed the deficit down to one when Blake Tiberi smashed a home run over the right field wall to give the game it’s final count of 3-2.
Earning the win for Sioux Falls was Tyler Garkow (6-9) who finished his season with a quality start, allowing only two runs on three hits in six innings with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.
By the time the ninth inning came around, the X’s and Saltdogs were both batting in their final chances simultaneously. The Explorers got runners at the corners with one out, and the tying run at third but could not score as Caleb Frare notched his 12th save of the season and fifth against the Explorers.
In Lincoln the Saltdogs got the first two men on with singles before Derrick Sylve came out of the bullpen and shut down the Saltdogs last chance effort to send the Explorers to the postseason.
By Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers