Homers Power Monarchs to Comeback Victory in 10
CLEBURNE, Texas — Despite being down to their final out in the ninth inning, the Monarchs came back and won in extra innings over Cleburne 11-7 — extending the winning streak to three games.
Looking to take the series from Cleburne, Kansas City handed the ball to RHP Justin Shafer for his third start of the season. In his previous two starts, Shafer ran into trouble in the second inning. However, on Saturday night, Shafer maneuvered through the first two frames without allowing a run.
In the top of the third, the Monarchs exploded at the plate. Morgan McCullough led off the inning with his first home run of the season. Two batters later, Darnell Sweeney connected for a two-run shot — making it 3-0. The fireworks, though, didn’t stop there. Later in the frame, Casey Gillaspie rocked the third home run of the inning to give the Monarchs and Shafer a 5-0 lead.
Those five runs, as it came to be, wouldn’t be enough to keep Cleburne away. In the bottom of the third, the Railroaders scratched across a run on an Alay Lago RBI-single. In the ensuing inning, Cleburne needed one swing to climb back into it. Noah Vaughan, who scored on Lago’s single in the third, blasted a three-run homer to trim the deficit to one run. Shafer finished the inning without surrendering the lead, but his night was over after the fourth. He allowed four runs on four hits with five strikeouts.
The first man out of the Monarchs’ bullpen was the newly acquired Jake Matthys. The right-hander tossed a scoreless fifth inning, but was roughed up for three runs in the bottom of the sixth — resulting in a 7-5 lead for Cleburne. Matthys ended up throwing 2 ⅓ innings, but allowed seven hits and three runs.
After the seven unanswered runs by the Railroaders, Kansas City inched back in the top half of the seventh. With the bases loaded, Ryan Grotjohn was hit by a pitch. Unfortunately for the Monarchs, that was all the bats could produce in the inning.
In the top of the ninth, Kansas City faced one of Cleburne’s top arms in Mason Melotakis. Down to their final out with a runner on first, the Monarchs received their biggest hit to date from Colin Willis. After a wild pitch moved Jan Hernandez up to second base, Willis doubled to tie the game up at seven.
In extra innings, the offense, once again, erupted. Johnny Field gave Kansas City the lead on sacrifice fly and Hernandez followed up with a three-run blast — extending the lead to 11-7. Cody Mincey came on for the final three outs and locked down the win for the Monarchs.
The Monarchs will face the Cleburne Railroaders in the final game of the three game series at 6:00 p.m. Sunday night. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 5:40 p.m. and the video stream airing on aabaseball.tv.
Tickets to all Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting monarchsbaseball.com. For additional information or interview requests, members of the media may contact the Monarchs Media Relations Department at (817) 739-3693. Stay tuned to monarchsbaseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.
by Dan Vaughan, Kansas City Monarchs