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June 22, 2023

By Austin Thomas




KANSAS CITY, Kan.—The Sioux City Explorers (17-20) toppled the Kansas City Monarchs (23-14) Thursday night 8-1, riding a stellar start from Trenton Toplikar (1-0) to the victory. The X’s won the series at Legends Field 2-1 against the formerly first-place Monarchs. It was Toplikar’s third start for the X’s and his best to date, allowing just one run and seven hits over eight innings of work while striking out five.

The X’s struck first, putting up a run in the second inning when Sioux City’s Daniel Perez reached on a walk and Wilfredo Gimenez singled before Jack Kelly hit a sac fly off Kansas City’s starter Jalen Miller (4-2), snagging the 1-0 lead.

Miller rebounded for the Monarchs with three shutout innings and three strikeouts, but X’s Toplikar continued to dominate, keeping a shutout into the sixth inning.

The Explorers took control of the game in the top of the sixth. Vince Fernandez led off the inning with a walk, and John Nogowski followed with a single. Miguel Sierra drilled a two-RBI triple to right center off Kansas City’s Miller, making it 3-0 Sioux City. The X’s piled on two more runs when Sioux City’s Perez followed Sierra by belting a two-run homer to left field, grabbing a 5-0 lead for the Explorers.

The Monarchs ended Toplikar’s shutout in the sixth when Justin Wylie hit a leadoff home run making it a 5-1 game. Sioux City responded in the eighth inning, racking up three more runs against reliever Alex Valdes. With two outs, Chase Harris reached on a two-base error by the Monarchs Justin Wylie. Jack Kelly made Kansas City pay by bringing home Harris with an infield popup that the Monarchs could not make a play on, scoring a hustling Harris from second to extend the Sioux City advantage to 6-1. Following that, Sioux City’s Delvin Zinn walked, and Jake Ortega ripped a single, sending home Kelly, but a throwing error on Kansas City’s Dylan Rosa also waved Zinn around, giving Sioux City an 8-1 lead.

X’s Toplikar finished the game with eight innings pitched, allowing just one run over his outing. The right-hander allowed just one walk, his first of the season in 16 innings. Kent Hasler relieved him in the ninth, pitching a perfect inning, including a strikeout of new Monarch Odubel Herrera, an MLB All Star in 2016, to clinch the victory. The win was the Explorers fifth win over the team with the league’s best record during the 2022 season in six games and evened the season-long road trip at 3-3.

Box Score

The Explorers continue their nine-game trip with the first game of a three game weekend series against the now first-place Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at 7:05 pm. Sioux City returns home Tuesday, June 27 for the first game of a three-game series with the Sioux Falls Canaries. Tickets for the season can be purchased online at, 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 and on radio at KSCJ 94.9 FM and 1360 AM.