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Sioux City, IA- The 2017 season marks 25 years of baseball in Siouxland for the Sioux City Explorers. The X’s, coming off of back to back Central Division championships, began their silver anniversary season with the 2-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries at Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park.

Sioux City jumped to an early two-run lead in the bottom half of the first. With a runner at first and one out, X’s left fielder Jayce Ray knocked in the first run of the contest with an RBI double. Ray later scored on a base-hit single by Nate Samson, extending their lead (2-0).

The Canaries managed to score one run in the contest. In the third inning, Sioux Falls shortstop Blake Schmit reached first with a one out single, and scored off an RBI double by leftfielder Ty Morrison.

Explorers right-hander James Needy (1-0) received the victory on opening night. Needy kept the Canaries guessing, striking out a solid nine batters in only 5.1 innings pitched.

X’s bullpen was strong throughout the night, with PJ Francescon (s-1) getting the save. The right-hander faced three batters, while allowing no hits and striking out one.

Sioux Falls starting pitcher Joe Bircher (0-1) was charged with the loss. The left-hander went seven solid innings, allowing two runs, on five hits and a walk, while recording six strikeouts.

The Sioux City Explorers and Sioux Falls Canaries will continue their 1-29 rivalry tomorrow night (May 19th) first pitch- 7:05 at Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park.

For 2017 ticket information to Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park, call (712) 277-WINS or visit the X’s website at