Jesse Baker Homers Twice to Send Stockade for Second Straight Win, 8-3
The Sioux City Explorers have struggled through one of the most unbelievable runs of injuries, which has left the pitching staff a shell of itself, and the starting lineup struggling to produce runs. The team was hoping that the arrival of the Salina Stockade would be the elixir they were looking for to get back in the win column, however these scrappy Stockade are no patsies, and they prove that again Wednesday night, downing Sioux City for the second straight evening, 8-3. Jesse Baker led the offense with the second third home run game in Salina history, and Jared Koenig tossed eight outstanding innings for his first win of the year.
After a scoreless first, Salina took the lead with two runs against Hobbs Johnson in the top of the second. Cody Coffman led off the frame with a base hit, and scored when Jesse Baker hit the first pitch he saw for his fourth homer of the season.
In the bottom of the third, Sioux City cut that lead half. LeVon Washington started the inning with a base hit, and moved to second on a groundout. Tony Campana then lined a double into centerfield that scored Washington to make the score 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, the Stockade put three more runs on the board. Coffman walked to start the inning, and Baker singled to put runners at first and second. A groundout moved both runners into scoring position, but on a second straight groundout the runners were forced to hold and it looked like Johnson may get out of the inning. However, an error by the second baseman allowed both Coffman and Baker to score, and Scott Stetson, who had reached on the error, scored on a double by Roche Woodard to make it 5-1.
The Explorers got a run back in the bottom half of the inning. Tyler Ogle walked and moved to second when Michael Lang drew walk two batters later. An error loaded the bases, and Ogle scored on a ground out to make it 5-2.
The Salina Stockade did a little responding of their own in the top half of the fifth. Jimmy Heck walked to start the inning and scored when Coffman followed with his sixth homer of the season to extend the lead to five. Next up was Baker, who hit the first pitch he saw for his fifth home run of the season and second of the game to make it 8-2.
After giving up the run in the fourth, Jared Koenig (1-0) responded with four outstanding innings before finally being pulled after going 8-innings. It was a brilliant outing by the left-hander, who allowed 5-hits, 4-walks, and an earned run. He struck out 4.
Tom Fazzini came in to finish out the game for someone in the ninth, and the Explorers would add one run against him. Campana singled with two outs, moved to second on defensive indifference, and scored on a base hit by Joe Bennie to make it 8-3. That would be the final.
Jesse Baker led the Salina offense, going 3-4, with 3-runs and 3-RBI. Cody Coffman was 2-4 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. Tony Campana led the Sioux City offense, going 3-5 with a run and an RBI.
These two teams finish their three-game series tomorrow with Salina looking for their first sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier