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X’s Comeback Bid Falls Short 


Sioux City, IA- The highly anticipated rematch between the Sioux City Explorers and Kansas City T-Bones in the South Division Championship Series began on Wednesday night and it was a big seven run rally in the third inning that propelled Kansas City on to the game one win in the best of five series, 12-8. 

Sioux City had a brief lead as back to back doubles from Dylan Kelly and Sebastian Zawada gave the X’s a 1-0 lead, their lone lead of the night. 

But things unraveled very quickly for the Explorers in the top of the third. With the first two men aboard, Dylan Tice roped a double off the right field wall to tie the game at one a piece. A sac fly from Danny Mars gave the T-Bones the lead and a Stewart Ijames single put Kansas City 3-1. Casey Gillaspie got the X’s yet again with a double to drive home two runs and Omar Carrizales crushed a two run homer to right to finish off the rally and make it 7-1. In all the T-Bones sent 13 men to the plate putting up seven runs on eight hits. 

Carlos Sierra (0-1) took the loss as lasted only through that third inning. He had come into the ball game with a 1.19 ERA in three starts and a relief appearance against Kansas City, allowing just three runs in 22 2/3 innings. But Sierra who was making his fourth straight start against Kansas City would last only three innings in game one, allowing all seven runs on nine hits, with two walks and only a single strikeout. 

The Explorers though would not just fold trailing by half a dozen runs. In the fourth Sioux City took a chunk out of the Kansas City lead. With two outs and the bases loaded Nate Samson would fight a pitch off into right field to score a pair and Jeremy Hazelbaker lifted one over the short stops head to score a third and cut the deficit to 7-4. 

In the fifth inning it was Zawada who crushed a two run homer to left to all of a sudden in two innings of work pull the Explorers to within a run 7-6 at the end of the fifth. 

Zawada made his professional post season debut in grand fashion. He went 3-5 with three RBI’s a double and a homer. 

The homer knocked T-Bones starter, Dylan Baker out of the ball game. He would take a no decision going four and a third, allowing six runs on a season high 11 hits with three walks and four strikeouts. 

Unfortunately for the X’s the single run deficit was as close as they would get to tying the game against the T-Bones. Kansas City would score three times in the sixth. Daniel Nava collected his fourth hit of the game to drive home a run and an infield single attached to a throwing error scored a pair of runs pushing the Kansas City lead to 10-6. 

But Kansas City would let the X’s pull back a little closer with a pair of errors by short stop Ramsey Romano to put runners at first and second and a wild pitch advanced them to second and third. Hazelbaker delivered yet again with a single to bring home both making it tighter but Kansas City still ahead 10-8. 

Those two unearned runs were charged to Hunter Smith (1-0) who picked up the well deserved win in relief. He was able to enter the game and stop the bleeding despite the two unearned runs. He tossed two and two-thirds innings not allowing a walk and striking out four. 

The X’s had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. Kyle Wren broke a hitless streak with a double to lead off the inning and a wild pitch moved him to third. Drew Stankiewicz would walk and take second on another wild pitch that Wren decided not to try and score on. Henry Owens had gotten himself into a jam but was able to work himself out as he got Samson to fly out to shallow left and would strikeout Hazelbaker and Jose Sermo to strand the tying runs in scoring position. 

Kansas City would put the game away in the ninth with a two run single from Stewart Ijames giving the game it’s 12-8 final score. 

With the win the T-Bones take a 1-0 series lead, game two of the five game series will be back in Sioux City on Thursday at 7:12 pm. Both teams have yet to announce their starting pitcher for the contest.