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Saints Had Everything Going, Sioux City Not so Much


Sioux City, IA- With all the hype and excitement around the Siouxland area the last couple of days after the Sioux City Explorers punched their ticket to the American Association Finals most fans were looking forward to the first game of what should be an entertaining series. Instead they were treated to a clinic put on by the St. Paul Saints as they grabbed an early 1-0 series lead by dismantling the X’s 12-3. 

Before the game Explorers manager Steve Montgomery made three points of emphasis of what his team needed to do to win the five game series over St. Paul and to be crowned American Association Champions for the first time in franchise history. They were; get good starts out of your pitchers, hold onto the lead with the bullpen and be opportunistic offensively. 

Eric Karch was the first one up to attempt to check one of those boxes but would be unable to. After dominating the Kansas City T-Bones over eight shut out innings in the South Division Championship Series. Karch (1-1) would take the loss as he got knocked around by the St. Paul Saints in game one. He lasted only three innings allowing six runs on eight hits walking two and failing to pick up a punch out. 

St. Paul scored in all three innings off of him as Michael Lang in the first legged out a one out triple and immediately scored on a sacrifice fly from Brady Shoemaker. In the second a walk and a single and a sacrifice bunt moved a runner to third before a Chris Baker sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Saints. 

The third inning was Karch’s second time through the lineup and the Saints really got to work. A lead off double from Dan Motl was followed by a single to move him to third and he would score on a Shoemaker fielders choice. Jeremy Martinez collected a RBI and drove in another run with a base hit and Chesny Young walked with the bases loaded to put the Saints up 5-0 though they would then leave the bases loaded. 

Karch would allow a single to Motl to lead off the fourth and that would do it for him. That brought in Ryan Flores which began the second of Montgomery’s points. Now the bullpen did not enter the game with the lead but the X’s pen did not slow down the bleeding either. Flores walked the first two batters he faced before a sacrifice fly from John Silviano brought home Motl to put St. Paul up 6-0 in the fourth. 

A base hit and a double in the fifth allowed a Baker ground ball to score a run off of Flores. Sam Held would toss a wet and rainy sixth inning but would surrender four runs on four hits though only two of those hits would leave the infield. 

Every member of the St. Paul lineup had either a run scored or an RBI. Josh Allen and Chesny Young lead the way offensively for the Saints. Young went 3-3 with a double and 3 RBI’s. Allen had a perfect 5-5 night with an RBI and three runs scored. 

It wasn’t until Juan Aguilera’s perfect seventh inning till the X’s were able to keep the Saints off the scoreboard as they scored in the first six innings of game one and in seven of the nine innings they came to the plate. Sioux City’s bullpen in six innings of work allowed six runs, five earned on eight hits. 

The last point of the night was to be opportunistic hitters. Sioux City only earned five hits on the night with none of them being driven for extra bases. They were however able to work out 10 walks and two hit batters giving Sioux City plenty of base runners. However the X’s could never capitalize on those base runners. They would leave 15 men on base and went 1-15 with runners in scoring position with the lone hit not producing an RBI. Only three Explorers; Samson, Wren and Sermo collected hits in the game.

The X’s loaded the bases in the fourth and got their first run of the game on a Drew Stankiewicz walk. And scored their last two in the seventh trailing 11-1, a bases loaded dropped pop up by the Saints first basemen.

For the X’s they failed in all three points of the game that Steve Montgomery said they would have to succeed in to take the five game series from the red hot St. Paul Saints. 

Sioux City will look to correct those mistakes and attempt to even up the series and earn a split in their two games at home in game two on Thursday. Right hander Pete Tago will draw the start for the Explorers. He will face right hander Eddie Medina for St. Paul. Game two will be the final game of the 2019 season at MercyOne Field at Lewis and Clark Park for the Explorers, first pitch is set for 7:12 pm.