Montgomery Reaches Win 500 in Victory over RedHawks
By Dan Vaughan, Jr., Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Right-handed pitcher John Sheaks had been in town 24 hours, but his battery mate Wilfredo Gimenez had been around all season in the Siouxland. The pair teamed up to be a big part of Manager Steve Montgomery’s 500th win as the Sioux City Explorers (48-44) beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (45-48) 3-2 Sunday at Lewis and Clark Park.
Sheaks (7-7), who was acquired in a trade after Friday night’s game from Gary SouthShore, threw eight shutout innings, scattering five hits to get the win in his Explorers debut. After a 1-2-3 inning to start the game by Sheaks, the X’s would take the lead in the home half of the first. Scott Ota singled with one out off RedHawks lefty Tyler Grauer (6-4). With two outs, Matt Lloyd would reach on a base hit as well. Gimenez would step up and deliver an RBI single to left to give Sioux City a 1-0 lead.
Sheaks would work around a pair of innings where the RedHawks would get two on but not score in the second or third inning. In the bottom of the third, it was Gimenez who made it 2-0 on a solo home run to left field off Grauer to make it 2-0. It was his seventh long ball of the season and his fourth in the last six games. The native of Venezuela has eight RBI in the last week for the Explorers.
Sheaks would retire nine in a row before a walk in the seventh—his only one allowed in the game. The San Clemente, California native then would finish off his afternoon retiring the RedHawks in order in the top of the eighth inning. Grauer would work seven innings for Fargo, giving up 10 hits to the Explorers in the hard-luck loss.
The Explorers picked up a huge insurance run in the bottom of the eighth that would be crucial in the outcome of the game. Matt Lloyd would double to start the inning off reliever Benjamin Holmes. He would steal third base, his fourth time to steal the hot corner base this season. With Tyler Rando batting, Holmes uncorked a wild pitch to score Lloyd from third to increase the lead to 3-0.
The RedHawks would make it interesting off closer Sean Rackoski for last call. Manny Boscan would single, and a fielder’s choice moved him to second. Evan Alexander worked a walk, but Rackoski struck out Scott Schreiber for the second out of the inning. The RedHawks broke the shutout when Rackoski delivered a wild pitch, scoring Boscan. Sam Dexter would then double with the RedHawks down to their final strike to score Alexander. Rackoski then struck out Nick Novak to earn his 19th save.
Montgomery who became the winningest manager in club history on July 22, 2022, picked up his half century win against the team he began his coaching career with back in 2004. The win also kept the X’s a game ahead of the Sioux Falls Canaries for second place in the American Association West Division with the top four teams making the playoffs. Sioux City will close out the regular season with a two city eight-game road trip that begins Tuesday night August 29 at Legends Field in Kansas City against the Monarchs.
The Explorers open a three-game series Tuesday night against the Kansas City Monarchs with a first pitch of 7:05 p.m. in Kansas City, Kansas. Tickets for the season can be purchased online as 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 with the pregame beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch.