Tony Caldwell Homers Twice to Lead St. Paul Saints to 12-5 Win
The St. Paul Saints entered Monday’s game with their starting rotation in a bit of disarray because of injuries, necessitating a spot start from setup man Benji Waite. They were looking for a little offense to take the pressure off their pitchers, and that is exactly what Manager George Tsamis got, as Tony Caldwell homered twice and Breland Almadova had the first 5-hit game of his career in the 12-5 victory.
Following a scoreless first inning, the Saints jumped out in front in the top of the second. Tony Thomas walked with one out and, two batters later, Caldwell homered for his first home run of the year.
Waite looked sharp early on, allowing a lone single and a walk through the first three-innings, but the Sioux Falls Canaries would finally get on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Burt Reynolds walked to start the frame and Jake Taylor drew the base on balls two batters later. B.J. Guinn, Jr. followed with a single that scored Reynolds and it was 2-1.
In the fifth, the Saints put four on the board to extend their lead to five. Tim Colwell singled with one out and then stole second base with Almadova at the plate. Almadova then ripped a triple to the wall that scored Colwell, and he scored when Nate Hanson doubled. With a single, double, and triple in the inning, it was time for the St. Paul to complete the team cycle, and that is what Brady Shoemaker delivered when he ripped his first home run of the season to make it 6-1.
The Canaries responded with two-runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Blake Schmit singled to start the frame, but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Ty Morrison. Two batters later Chris Jacobs doubled to score Morrison. Guinn, Jr.’s single scored Jacobs and it was 6-3.
The Saints responded in the top of the sixth. Jon Kristoffersen walked with one out and moved to second on a wild pitch. Tanner Vavra singled to move the runner to third, and Krisoffersen scored when Colwell delivered a sacrifice fly to right to make it 7-3.
The Canaries were not going down quietly, however, as they added two in the bottom of the sixth. Dan Motl singled to start the frame and stole second. Morrison walked with one out and Motl scored when Reynolds doubled to center. A single by Jacobs brought home Morrison and Sioux Falls was trailing by just two.
It would stay a close game until the eighth when the Saints blew the game open. Caldwell walked to start the frame and moved to second when Vavra reached on an error. Colwell then reached on an error by the left fielder that scored Caldwell, and it was 8-5.
The Canaries turned to Nicco Blank out of the bullpen, but he was greeted by a single by Almadova that scored both runners to make it 10-5. Following a single by Hanson, Shoemaker lined a base hit to center to score Almadova to extend the lead to six.
In the ninth, St. Paul added one more insurance run thanks to their catcher. Caldwell led off the inning by drilling his second homer of the game over the left-center field wall to make it 12-5.
Benji Waite (1-0) earned the victory despite struggling in his last two innings of work. Vinny Nittoli pitched a scoreless seventh inning and Corey Williams kept the Canaries off the board in the eighth and ninth innings.
Tony Caldwell finished 2-4 with 3-runs and 3-RBI. He also drew a walk. Breland Almadova was 5-6 with 2-runs, a double, a triple, and an RBI, and Nate Hanson continues his hot start, going 3-5 with a run and an RBI. He is now hitting .444. Chris Jacobs was 3-5 with a run scored for Sioux Falls.
These two teams will go at it again tomorrow in Game 2 of their three-game series. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier