Explorers Drop Series Opener in Sioux Falls
By: Dan Vaughan Jr. and Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It was the story of four game streaks Monday night at Sioux Falls Stadium. The Sioux City Explorers (8-2) came into their “Siouxland Series” winners of four straight games but it was the Sioux Falls Canaries (4-7) that pulled out a 4-3 win to end their four game losing streak.
Sioux City had an early chance to jump out in front putting runners on first and second with one out, but Sioux Falls starter Mitchell Walters was able to get out of it unscathed. In the bottom of the the first the X’s weren’t so lucky, as starter Jesus Valles (0-2) loaded the bases for a Jordan Barth RBI fielder’s choice to score Wyatt Ulrich.
The X’s responded quickly in the second inning by putting up three runs. Chase Harris scored on an error from shortstop Barth, Kyle Kasser hit a sac fly to score Jack Kelly, and Eury Perez scored on a balk to take a 3-1 lead. The bottom of the inning saw Sioux Falls grab the lead and never look back. Ulrich knocked in Osvaldo Martinez with an RBI double off Valles, who was taken out after walking Darnell Sweeney to load the bases. Heitor Tokar took over in the place of Valles and couldn’t record the quick out, allowing a 2-RBI double from Welington Dotel before finally ending the inning with the Canaries leading 4-3.
Sioux City would threaten putting two runners in scoring position after a balk and a walk from reliever Angel Lebron (1-0) in the top of the third, but could not score. The Canaries had two runners reach in the third, but Tokar cleaned up to end the inning. Tokar would settle in and keep the game a one run affair until he was lifted for Kent Hasler in the seventh. Tokar, a native of Brazil, pitched five innings allowing no earned runs, scattering four hits and two walks, while striking out seven.
Lebron held Sioux City in check in the third and fourth and finished strong, sending the visitors down in order in the fifth. The Canaries turned to Bret Barnett who sat down Sioux City 1-2-3 in the sixth inning and seventh. The X’s would get a leadoff walk from Miguel Sierra in the eighth inning but reliever Jose Cruz would strand him at third base. Hasty would work a three up and three down ninth to record his first save.
The Explorers continue their road swing with game two of the three game series in Sioux Falls Tuesday night against the Canaries. Game time is 6:35 at the “Bird Cage”. Sioux City is expected to start RHP Solomon Bates while Sioux Falls will throw LHP Ty Culbreth. The Explorers return home Friday May 26th to host the Lincoln Saltdogs in the first of a three-game series. Tickets for the season can be purchased online at XSBaseball.com, in person at the Lewis and Clark Park Box Office or by calling 712-277-WINS. You can catch all the X’s action on aabaseball.tv and on radio at KSCJ 94.9 FM and 1360 AM.