Explorers Win Great Pitchers’ Duel in 10
By: Dan Vaughan Jr. and Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
GENEVA, IL – On halfway to Halloween promotional night, the Sioux City Explorers (7-1) and Kane County Cougars (2-6) bats appeared to be frightened of the scoreboard for the first eight innings of the game until a flurry offense in the ninth and 10th innings.
The game was tied at goose eggs until the top of the ninth when Daniel Perez launched his first home run of the season off Keith Rogalla to give the X’s a 1-0 lead. The Cougars would be down to their final out in the home half of the inning and would answer with a Josh Allen solo blast off Sioux City reliever Sean Rackoski to tie the game to send the game to extra innings.
With the international rule tie breaker in extra innings, Chase Harris would start the inning at second base as the “zombie” runner in the top of the 10th. Jake Sanford hit a single to center to score Harris, but the throw from center by Jimmy Kerrigan was over the infielders and went to the backstop behind home plate to move Sanford the second base. On a 0-2 count, Wilfredo Gimenez would single to right center to score Sanford, giving Sioux City a 3-1 lead and a big insurance run.
In the bottom of the inning, Kane County would start with Daniel Wasinger at first. Sean Rackoski would strikeout pinch hitter Jonah Davis then retire Galli Cribbs Jr. on a ground ball to short. Kane County would then make it interesting, scoring a run on an error at short by Miguel Sierra and bringing in Wasinger to cut the lead to 3-2. The X’s closer would get Cesar Trejo to hit into a six-to-four fielders’ choice to end the game.
The first inning saw some action for the Explorers, who had runners on the corners with one out by singles from Vince Fernandez and Matt Lloyd off Kane County starter Westin Muir, but Muir was able to get out of the jam unscathed. The Cougars also saw a runner on third after Cesar Trejo stole two bags, but ultimately Trejo was left on base as X’s starter Austin Drury cleaned up.
Neither team saw a runner reach third base until the third inning when the Cougars had runners on the corners. Cornelius Randolph was caught stealing, and Drury struck out Kerrigan to end the threat. Pitching once again dominated until the fifth inning when it was the X’s this time who threatened to score. Chase Harris made his way to third base after being hit by a Muir pitch, swiping second, and advancing to third on a ground out from Jake Sanford, but once again, he was left on base to end the inning.
The Kane County bullpen came into play in the sixth as Daniel Bies replaced Muir who allowed runners on the corners but didn’t get them home. X’s starter Drury was replaced by Nate Gercken after two outs, following a single from TJ Bennett to put runners on the corners. The inning ended with a 4-3 groundout putout on Josh Allen to keep the score at a draw. The seventh inning once again saw Harris reach third for the X’s, but he couldn’t reach home.
No batter reached base again until the ninth inning when Daniel Pérez came up clutch for Sioux City. Allen answered, sending the game to extra innings. Rackoski (3-0) would pick up the relief win working two innings while Logan Nissen (0-1) was charged with the loss.
The Explorers and Cougars play game the final game of their three-game series Sunday afternoon at Northwest Medicine Field in Geneva, Illinois. 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.