Dogs Fall in Series Opener with Monarchs
By Michael Barthelemy, Chicago Dogs
ROSEMONT, Ill. – It was a battle of the best, and one side lived up.
In the opening match between the league’s top two squads, the Kansas City Monarchs overpowered the Chicago Dogs in route to a 10-2 victory.
Kansas City left-handed starter Matt Hall was masterful. The former MLB product threw six innings and allowed one run with 10 strikeouts while frustrating the typically strong Chicago lineup.
Monarchs catcher Alexis Olmeda broke out offensively with two rally sparking doubles that totaled three RBI. The bottom third of the lineup, Pete Kozma, Olmeda and Joel Booker, combined for six hits and six RBI.
Chicago struck first hot off a road series win over the Lincoln Saltdogs, and Charlie Tilson kept the heat on. The leadoff man snuck a ball down the third base line and hustled into second base for a double. It marked his fifth double of the season.
With two outs and Tilson standing on third base, designated hitter K.C. Hobson skied a ball high into the setting sun. After five seconds of hang time, it hit off the left field wall just above the reaching glove of Gabriel Guerrero and reached second base with a double. The knock let Tilson in easily for a 1-0 lead.
Barringer kept the lead intact with early domination. Through the first four innings, the lefty allowed just one baserunner. That one was Darnell Sweeney off a hit-by-pitch, and he quickly got picked him off first base.
The second time through the lineup was when the Monarchs offense connected. A pair of walks brought up Olmeda with two outs and he delivered with a double off the outfield wall that scored both runners. Booker singled to score Olmeda and switch the momentum completely to 3-1, Monarchs.
Guerrero kept the offensive fire burning for Kansas City after a double to lead off the sixth. A single by David Thompson marked the end of the road for Barringer and manager Butch Hobson elected Ryan Clark to bring relief.
Clark struck out his first batter, but two out offense once again bit the Dogs. On a 0-1 count, Casey Gillespie launched a three-run home run to deep right field that doubled the Monarchs’ run total and broke the game open, 6-1.
The Chicago offense continued to sputter against Hall into the sixth. The former Detroit Tiger retired 12 of his last 13 batters faced, including three strikeouts in the sixth inning against the heart of the Dogs’ order.
Suddenly staring down a five-run deficit, Harrison Smith lined a single into center field. Connor Kopach stepped up next and delivered a double into the gap and Smith chugged all the way from first to home to chip away.
The Monarchs didn’t entertain the possibility. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but with two outs Kansas City strung together three runs. Facing left-handed reliever Tanner Lawson, Olmeda hit his second double of the day that scored Kozma. Booker hit a ball to right-center field near identical to that of Olmeda and used his speed to make it to third for a triple.
Right-handed pitcher Justin Goossen-Brown entered the game looking to get a single out. As initiation, Guerrero flew a ball into the outfield that landed for a RBI single. The Dogs finally got out of the inning, but by then the damage was done.
Kansas City tacked on one more run from an error by Goossen-Brown in the ninth that scored Hernandez. Despite Rally Pickles’ return, the Dogs couldn’t pull off the miracle and ultimately fell.
This brings the Dogs to 17-8 and 1-3 in their season series against the Monarchs, who look to be one of the league’s premier squads again.
Tomorrow, the Dogs will pay homage to the Negro Leagues and represent the Chicago American Giants in commemorative uniforms. Chicago will trot out Joe Cavallaro for his debut start as a Chicago Dog, who is 1-0 with a 4.07 ERA in 17.2 innings out of the bullpen.