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Gillaspie And Ijames Carry T-Bones To South Division Crown


Kansas City, KS - The Sioux City Explorers knew heading into the ball game that with a single victory they were into the post season for the fourth time in six years. And despite leading 5-0 after four and a half innings of play, the X’s were once again unable to hold off the Kansas City T-Bones who won a dramatic game for the third straight night, securing the south division title and pushing Sioux City to the brink as they won in 13 innings 6-5. 

On Sunday afternoon the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks gave the Explorers a gift with a victory over the Cleburne Railroaders making it an easy situation for the X’s, win and you’re in. But as expected Kansas City was going to make that easier said than done. 

The Explorers shuffled up their lineup after collecting only two runs on four hits the previous night and striking out a season high 17 times and at first it seemed to pay off. Justin Felix crushed his fifth home run of the season off of Tommy Collier in the third to put Sioux City up 1-0. 

The X’s then took advantage of T-Bones mistakes in the fourth as a beaten out double play ball and an error put two men aboard with two outs. Sebastian Zawada and Dylan Kelly drove home runs with back to back two out singles and Sioux City went up 3-0. 

In the fifth a bunt single from Kyle Wren and a double by Drew Stankiewicz put baserunners at second and third. With both men on with two outs in the inning Nate Samson delivered a double to drive home both and the X’s took a 5-0 lead half way through the ball game. 

Tommy Collier took a no decision for Kansas City allowing five runs, three earned in seven innings of work. He surrendered seven hits and allowed three walks while striking out five. 

Kansas City would begin to chip away in that bottom of the fifth after the X’s jumped out in front 5-0. It would begin with a two out rally, with two outs in the inning the T-Bones collected three straight singles to get on the board and make it 5-1 as Casey Gillaspie picked up his third hit of the game and first RBI. 

A Stewart Ijames homer in the sixth would make it 5-2 and would mark the end of Taylor Jordan's day. 

The starter for Sioux City also took the no decision going six innings allowing two runs, on nine hits with one walks and three punch outs. 

Tyler Fallwell would replace him and toss an inning and a third but would allow a run on a Ramsey Romano double as the T-Bones inched closer now 5-3. 

In the ninth Stewart Ijames would single with one out off of X’s closer Matt Pobereyko. Daniel Nava would strike out putting Sioux City an out away from the post season. But Casey Gillaspie would hit his 14th homer of the season, the two out, two run shot tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth. 

Sioux City in extras would have multiple chances to score getting a runner into scoring position in every inning but unable to come up with a big hit needed to take the lead. 

The X’s bullpen between Pobereyko and Gercken were able to bridge it to the bottom of the 13th and Ryan Flores who historically has been dominant against Kansas City. He would get a strikeout and a ground out to begin the inning. But it was the same old T-Bones that would doom Sioux City. Ijames reached base for the sixth time in the game and his fourth hit to put the winning run on. Nava was hit by a pitch, which was a bad omen for the X’s as now all three game winning hits in the series for Kansas City were preceded by a hit batter. And then it was Gillaspie again, a single to center field drove home Ijames to walk it off for the T-Bones 6-5. 

Gillaspie in the game went an unbelievable 5-6, with four RBI’s, and a homer. And Ijames followed him with a 4-7 night, with a homer, an RBI and scoring four runs as the two of them single handedly beat the Explorers. 

With the loss it forces the Explorers into a must win situation on the final day of the regular season. The X’s with a win are in the post season for the fourth time in six years, a loss and a Cleburne win, the X’s season is finished, an Explorers loss coupled with a Cleburne loss and the X’s still hold the tiebreaker over the Railroaders and are in the post season. 

Game number 100 with be at 1:05 pm from Kansas City and the Explorers will throw right hander Pete Tago (5-3, 2.91) against Jon Perrin for Kansas City (7-1, 3.43).