Jake Esch, Jabari Henry Help Canaries Down Saints, 12-8
The Sioux Falls Canaries have been relishing the role of spoiler over the last week, and that continued on Monday night as the Canaries blasted three home runs and got eight shutout innings out of starter Jake Esch, then hung on for a 12-8 victory. Jabari Henry drove in six in the game and added four hits.
The Sioux Falls Canaries dominated the game from the outset. In the top of the first, David Bergin drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a ground out. He scored on a base hit by Jabari Henry to put Sioux Falls on top, 1-0.
In the second, they would add another run. Mitch Glasser singled with one down and moved to third on the Patrick Fiala base hit. Jordan Smith followed with a ground out, moving Fiala to second and bringing home Glasser to make it 2-0. Jordan Dean and Bergin walked to load the bases and it looked like the Canaries were going to blow this game open. Chris Grayson worked the count full, then lined a ball that Saints first baseman Nathaniel Maggio made a great play on for the final out of the inning.
In the third, the Canaries added one more run. With one down, former Saint Maxx Garrett walked and moved to third on a base hit by another former Saint, Jeff Malm. Garrett would score on a two-out double by Fiala and that would be the end of the night for St. Paul starter Matt Solter.
Ryan Boelter came on and retired the side in the third, but the Sioux Falls Canaries would blow this game open in the top of the fourth. Dean began with a walk and stole second before moving to third on a base hit by Grayson. That brought Henry to the plate, who drilled his 10th home run of the year to extend the lead to six.
The onslaught continued into the fifth. With one down, Fiala absolutely crushed a ball deep over the wall in left field for his eighth home run of the year. That made it 7-0 Sioux Falls.
The Canaries would add two runs in each of the next two innings. In the top of the sixth, Bergin doubled before Grayson walked. Both came home on a Henry double to extend the lead to nine. In the seventh, Dean singled with one out and scored when Bergin clubbed his 13th home run of the year. That gave the Canaries an 11-0 lead.
While the offense was putting up a huge number of runs, Sioux Falls starter Jake Esch was in absolute command of this game. The former St. Paul Saints starter made this an extremely difficult night for his former team, giving up just one hit through the first three innings. He would give up a pair of two-out hits in the fourth, but struck out Dante Bichette, Jr. to end the threat.
Sioux Falls would add one more run in the top of the ninth. Fiala, who fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle, walked to start the inning before Smith walked. A base hit by Dean brought home Fiala to make it a 12-0 game.
Jake Esch (7-5) came out after 8-innings. Be allowed 5-hits and a walk, but no runner scored. The right-hander struck out 8.
In the bottom of the ninth, Dimitri Kourtis came on for Sioux Falls, but he could not preserve the shutout. Jake Smith walked to start the inning and moved to second on a base hit by Bichette. Maggio followed with a single to score Smith with the first run of the evening for St. Paul. A base hit by Aaron Gretz loaded the bases before Joey Wong drew a walk to drive home the second run of the inning. The inning continued, as Max Murphy followed with a base hit to bring home Maggio before Kyle Barrett singled to bring home Gretz with the fourth run for the Saints. Kourtis struck out Burt Reynolds bringing Smith back to the plate. He hit a ball deep to the wall in left that Henry misplayed. It went off the wall, scoring all three runners to make it 12-7. Zach Walters followed with a double down the line in right that brought in Smith and St. Paul was within four.
Sioux Falls turned to their closer, bringing in Kyle Schepel. He struck out Bichette swinging to preserve the 12-8 victory.
Jabari Henry finished 4-5 with a run and 6-RBI. Patrick Fiala was 3-4 with 2-runs and 2-RBI for the Canaries. David Bergin was 2-4 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. Sioux Falls scored at least one run in every inning but the eighth. Jake Smith was 1-1 with 2-runs and 3-RBI.
The St. Paul Saints remade tied for first place in the North Division. These two teams will go at it again tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier