Benji Waite Returns to Hurl St. Paul Saints to 4-1 Victory
With Dustin Crenshaw opting to head south of the border to pitch in the Mexican League, the St. Paul Saints were in need of another arm to fill in the void in their rotation. Benji Waite had been a huge part of the team’s bullpen last season but, pressed into service, he returned from the disabled list Wednesday afternoon, tossing 5.1 outstanding innings to lead the Saints to the 4-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. The red-hot Anthony Gallas extended his hitting streak to 12-games with 3-hits and Brady Shoemaker scored 2-runs in the victory.
Bryce Morrow started for Sioux Falls and he and Waite kept this a scoreless game through the first, but in the second St. Paul took the lead. Gallas led off the inning by lining a double into left field and moved to third on a base hit by Tony Thomas. Maxx Garrett followed by grounding into a fielder’s choice that scored Gallas to make it 1-0 Saints.
Waite had allowed a lone hit through the first two frames, but the Canaries would tie the score in the bottom of the third. After striking out Dan Motl to start the inning, Waite gave up a single to Brent Marr. Two batters later Burt Reynolds doubled into center field, scoring Marr to tie the game.
It would remain tied until the sixth when the Saints would retake the lead. With one down, Shoemaker doubled off of Morrow and Gallas followed by singling into center to score Shoemaker and give St. Paul a 2-1 lead.
The Canaries looked to tie it right away, when Chris Jacobs singled with one down in the bottom half of the inning, and that would be it for the Saints starter. Benji Waite (1-0) went 5.1-innings, allowing 4-hits, and a run. He struck out 4 in earning his first win of the season.
Caleb Thielbar came on and induced a double-play to end the threat and maintain the one-run lead. The left-hander would toss 1.2-innigs of one-hit relief.
In the eighth, the St. Paul Saints offense would give their pitching staff a little breathing room. With one down, Shoemaker ripped his sixth home run of the season to extend the lead to two. That ended a 15-game homerless drought for the Saints slugger.
St. Paul added one more run in the top of the ninth. Maxx Garrett singled to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice. Josh Ferrell struck out the next batter, but Danny Oh kept the inning alive with a clutch two-out double that scored Garrett to make it 4-1. That would be the final.
In the ninth, the Saints turned to closer Seth Rosin. He retired the Canaries in order for his seventh save of the season.
Anthony Gallas finished the day 3-4 with a run and an RBI. That raised his average to .376. Brady Shoemaker was 2-3 with 2-runs scored, a homer, and an RBI. The Canaries got 2-hits from both Blake Schmit and Burt Reynolds.
After winning two of the three games against Sioux Falls, the St. Paul Saints return home to begin a four-game set against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Tomorrow night’s game is set for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier