Burt Reynolds Leads Ninth Inning Charge as Canaries Win, 6-3
The Sioux Falls Canaries had been battered in their first two games against the Wichita Wingnuts this past weekend. The pitching staff gave up 21 runs through the first two games but, since then, the staff has been absolutely on fire, helping Sioux Falls to win their fourth straight game Wednesday afternoon against the St. Paul Saints, 6-3. Burt Reynolds delivered the big blow in the ninth-inning, a double that scored two and broke a two all tie, and Joe Bircher continued his mastery over the St. Paul Saints.
Bircher was matched against the Saints Ryan Zimmerman, and these two put up nothing but goose eggs through the first five innings of the game. Zimmerman allowed just one hit through the first five innings, and found himself in trouble for the first time in the top of the fifth when he gave up a one-out walk, had a runner reach on an error, and hit a batter to load the bases with just one down. That brought the incredibly hot Jabari Henry to the plate, who grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Bircher was looking just as brilliant, retiring the side in order in all but two innings through the first five frames. In those two innings, St. Paul had the chance to grab the lead but the Sioux Falls starter proved to be on top of his game. In the second, an error and a single led off the inning and, after a sacrifice, there were two runners in scoring position with just one out. However, a strikeout and a groundout got him out of the threat. In the fifth, back-to-back singles started the inning and a sacrifice once again moved both runners into scoring position. Following a walk, which loaded the bases, he fanned the final two batters of the inning to end the rally.
In the sixth, both teams would finally get on the scoreboard. Back-to-back hit by pitches to Ty Morrison and Chris Jacobs started the inning, and Blake Schmit was hit by a pitch two batters later. After giving up a base hit to Trey Vavra, Zimmerman’s day was over. Jason Hoppe came on and retired the final two batters of the inning, but the Canaries led 1-0.
The St. Paul Saints responded right away in the bottom half the inning. Brady Shoemaker led off the inning with a double, and Nate Hanson doubled two batters later scoring Shoemaker to tie the game.
It would stay that way until the eighth when, once again, each team would score a run. Burt Reynolds singled to start the inning but was thrown out trying to steal second. That brought Schmit to the plate, who drilled his second home run of the season to put the Canaries back on top.
St. Paul got that run right back. With one down, Shoemaker drilled his 11th home run of the season over the left field wall to tie the score at two.
In the top of the ninth, Sioux Falls would take the lead for good. Caleb Thielbar relieved for St. Paul and walked Brett Marr to start the frame. He then struck out the next two batters, but walked Jacobs before giving up a double to Reynolds that scored both runners to give the Canaries the 4-2 lead. Schmit followed with a base hit that brought Reynolds home, and Aaron Gretz singled with two outs to score Schmit to extend the lead to four.
In the bottom half of the inning, Tim Colwell hit his third home run of the season, making the score 6-3. However, the Saints would get no closer.
Joe Bircher went 7-innings, allowing 5-hits and a run while striking out 8. He did not earn a decision, but has now allowed just 3-runs in 19-innings pitched to St. Paul this year. Andrew Woeck (4-0) earned the victory. The Canaries pitching staff has allowed just 9-runs over their last four-games.
Burt Reynolds finished 2-5 with a run and 2-RBI. Blake Schmit was 2-4 with 2-runs scored and 2-RBI, and Trey Vavra and Aaron Gretz each had 2-hits and an RBI. Brady Shoemaker was 2-4 with 2-runs and an RBI for the Saints.
The Canaries will go for their fifth straight game tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier