Phone: 817.739.3693



July 6, 2024

By Austin Thomas





SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Oftentimes, politicians throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game, but in Saturday night’s Sioux City Explorers game, Iowa House of Representatives member JD Scholten (1-0) threw 100 of them in game action. The surprise starter for the Explorers earned a quality start after the Representative went 6.2 innings allowing just one run, leading to the Explorers (23-26) earning an 11-2 victory over the Milwaukee Milkmen (27-24).

Neither the team nor Scholten expected him to be the starter tonight, but a late scratch of Sioux City’s projected starter Jared Wetherbee forced the team to make a move. The 44-year-old representative previously pitched professionally for the Explorers between 2003-2007, but after taking several years off to focus on his political career, he returned to pro ball in the Netherlands last year.

​J.D. Scholten of the Sioux City Explorers and the Iowa House of Representatives delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Milkmen Saturday night July 6, 2024 at Lewis and Clark Park in the Explorers 11-2 American Association win. (Credit Tim Tushla Sioux City Explorers)

After previously talking about a return to the American Association, Scholten called back Explorers manager Steve Montgomery and said, “I’ll give you all I’ve got.”

His return to the mound threw a wrench in his plans after previously expecting to volunteer at the Sioux City festival, Saturday in the Park.

“There’s a line in a movie I like to use a lot that says, ‘How do you make God laugh? It’s to have a plan,’” the new Explorer said.

It took a few outs for Scholten to get settled as Milwaukee’s Jose Sermo notched a sac fly in the top of the first to give the Milkmen a 1-0 lead, but he worked out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the score there.

In the bottom of the first, the X’s tied things up as Sioux City’s Daniel Montano picked up an RBI off Milwaukee starter Shane Barringer (1-4) with a grounder that drove in Scott Ota, knotting it 1-1.

In the top of the second, Sioux City’s Scholten began to lock in, retiring all three batters he faced before the X’s took the lead.

Milwaukee’s Barringer came out of the game with an apparent injury after just four pitches into the second inning, with Juan Echevarria relieving him for the Milkmen. Cam Cannon got the offense going for the Explorers after that, ripping a two-run shot off Echevarria, giving the X’s a 3-1 lead.

Cam Cannon rounds the bases against Milwaukee on July 6, 2024 (Credit Tim Tushla)

Scholten continued dealing for the X’s in the top of the third, again retiring all three Milwaukee batters while picking up his first strikeout of the game.

In the bottom of the frame, the Explorers added three more runs, starting with Sioux City’s Cannon picking up another big hit, a two-RBI triple off Milwaukee’s Echevarria, making it 5-1. The next at-bat, Sioux City’s Zac Vooletich sent home Cannon with an RBI single, extending the lead to 6-1.

The Milkmen stole a run back in the top of the fourth after Milwaukee’s Chase Estep launched a solo homer off Scholten, cutting the lead to 6-2, although that’s all they would score the rest of the game as the Iowa State Representative returned to his success.

The Explorers added four runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to back-to-back home runs from Sioux City’s Chase Harris and Cam Cannon, making it a 10-2 game, firmly putting them in charge.

Scholten stayed in the game for the X’s into the seventh inning, throwing 100 pitches before manager Steve Montgomery went to the bullpen, ending the starter’s night with 6.2 innings pitched.

“This one belongs to all the middle-aged men who still think they can do it,” Scholten said after the game. “Never would have ever thought that when I was playing with the X’s, my last year was 2007, that I would ever get a chance to put on the uniform again.”

Zach Willeman relieved the righty, completing the seventh and eighth innings before Kyle Marman finished the game for the Explorers with a scoreless ninth, leading to the 11-2 victory.

Box Score

The Explorers will play the final game of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Milkmen Sunday, July 7 with a first pitch set for 4:05 p.m.  For more information or for media requests, please feel free to reach out at 817-739-3693Tickets for the season can be purchased online as, in person at the Lewis and Clark Park Box Office or by calling 712-277-WINS.