Explorers Rally to Down Apollos in Series Opener
Sioux City, IA (July 23, 2021) – It may not have been pretty but the Sioux City Explorers get a series and home stand opening victory over the Houston Apollos 6-5.
The X’s were able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first as Chase Harris walked to open up the inning and then stole second and third on the next two consecutive pitches. He scored on a double play ball to put Sioux City in front early 1-0.
Houston battled back to tie the game with back to back two out hits in the third. A seeing-eye single from Blake Berry was followed by an Aaron Takacs double to knot things up 1-1.
In the fourth it was the Apollos taking a lead with a three run frame. With a man aboard, Ian Yetsko lined a triple to right-center to put Houston on top. Yetsko scored easily two batters later on a Brian Dansereau double and an error plated Dansereau to finish the rally, giving Houston a 4-1 lead.
The score remained that way until the sixth as the X’s offense was silent through the first five innings, being no hit by Apollos starter Abdallah Aris. However Chase Harris began the sixth with a single to get the offense finally rolling. Harris scored from first on a Jose Sermo double. And after LT Tolbert was hit by a pitch and both runners tagged on a fly ball to right field, it was Lane Milligan who tied the game with two away in the sixth on a base hit to right field.
It was the seventh inning when the X’s finally took the lead for good as Mitch Ghelfi who led off the inning with a walk scored from third on a fielder’s choice.
And on a wild pitch in the eighth it was Lane Milligan scoring on a wild pitch to add what ended up being a much needed insurance run for Sioux City to put them ahead 6-4.
Joe Velez (2-0) took the win for the Explorers, tossing two-thirds of an inning with a strikeout.
Derrick Sylve (0-5) was handed the loss as he allowed one run, in an inning of work, on a hit and two walks.
The Apollos ended up severely out hitting Sioux City thirteen to four in the ball game but the X’s worked eleven walks and came up with timely hits to score their six runs.
Max Kuhns would collect his first save of the year and first since 2017 as he held on in the ninth inning. A RBI single from Blake Berry with runners at the corners made it a 6-5 ballgame and allowed the tying run to reach third with only one out. But he picked up a strikeout and a ground out to short to finish off the victory.
The Explorers and Apollos will continue the series on Saturday with first pitch set for 6:05 pm, with Patrick Ledet (4-3, 6.79) taking the ball for Sioux City, he will be countered by right hander Alex Merithew (2-3, 8.00) for Houston.
By Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers