St. Paul beats T-Bones with walk-off grand slam

by Nolan Brooks

The Kansas City T-Bones (28-26) came into St. Paul (36-20) looking for a win on the road, but the dynamic St. Paul offense created fireworks with a walk-off grand slam to take game one, 9-7.

The T-Bones scored in the first inning. Shawn O’Malley gave KC the lead with an RBI single that would score Dylan Tice. The rally would continue after Casey Gillaspie smoked the baseball down the right field line to score Shawn O’Malley, giving the T-Bones a 2-0 lead just a half inning into the game.

The Saints offense is not first in the league in hits by chance as they would also put a run on the board via the base hit from Josh Allen. The Saints kept the heat coming as Jeremy Martinez laced one into the left field corner to tie the ball game at two runs apiece through only one inning of play.

The T-Bones bats were on fire in the second inning as well as Dylan Tice drove in Taylor Sparks, Mason Davis strolled into home plate after a called balk on Saints pitcher Jordan Jess, and the T-Bones took a 4-2 lead.

St. Paul tied it in the bottom of the inning. After a Chris Baker single, two runs scored to tie the ball game at 4-4, two innings into the ball game. As soon as it seemed like both teams could break double digits in under five innings, both teams made a complete turnaround, going scoreless in innings three through six.

The T-Bones broke the silence in the seventh inning after a lined shot to center from Christian Correa wiped the loaded bases clean, giving the T-Bones a 7-4 lead. St. Paul answered the call, scoring a run on a passed ball cutting the T-Bone lead to 7-5.

The T-Bones seemed to have a win in the bag, but St. Paul’s Josh Allen had other plans as Allen smashed a walk-off grand slam after three Carlos Diaz walks before Allen’s at-bat. St. Paul took game one by a score of 9-7.

St. Paul’s relief pitcher Ryan Smith was credited the win, improving to 1-0, and KC’s Carlos Diaz got the loss as he moves to 0-1.

The T-Bones will continue their mid-week series against the St. Paul Saints in game two of the series Wednesday afternoon. The game will be on the T-Bones Broadcast Network at http://mixlr.com/t-bones-baseball/ with the first pitch at 1:05 p.m.

Full and half-season 2019 ticket packages as well as mini plans are on sale online or by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting the Saint Luke’s Box Office between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Group ticket sales are also on sale.

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KC smokes the AirHogs

by Gabby Albertson

The Kansas City T-Bones (28-25) served up a sizzling T-Bone to the Texas AirHogs (11-43) as they won 5-1 Sunday and clinched the series win on a 92-degree afternoon at T-Bones Stadium.

The T-Bones attempted to sizzle their way early on in the bottom of the second when Roy Morales hit a single. Taylor Sparks moved to first on a walk that put Morales on second. Despite Mason Davis’s single that put Sparks on second and Morales on third, the T-Bones initially struggled to bring runners home.

The AirHogs got on the board first in the top of the fourth when Stephen Haviar hit a single, sending Matt Dean home and making it 1-0, with the T-Bones trailing behind.

Kansas City, however, fought back in the bottom of the fourth when Daniel Nava hit a ground rule double; then Morales got a walk that allowed Nava to steal third base.

Then, Sparks hit a double that advanced Morales to third base and scored Nava. On a sacrifice fly to right field by Mason Davis that got him out, Sparks advanced to third while Morales scored, making it 2-1.

Casey Gillaspie hit a two-run home run for the T-Bones, scoring Christopher Colabello as well making it 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth. The T-Bones scored again in the bottom of the eighth when Danny Mars hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Davis and making it 5-1.

With the win, the T-Bones remain three games over .500 and currently sit in second place in their division. The winning pitcher is Kenny Koplove (2-2) for the Kansas City T-Bones, and the losing pitcher is Travis Ballew (1-8) for the Texas AirHogs.

The T-Bones play the St. Paul Saints at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at CHS Field in St. Paul, Minnesota. The game will air on the T-Bones Broadcast Network, http://mixlr.com/t-bones-baseball/.

Half-season 2019 ticket packages as well as mini plans are on sale online or by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting the Saint Luke’s Box Office between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Group ticket sales are also on sale.

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Sporting earns second straight shutout win with 3-0 road victory at Vancouver

Sporting Kansas City (6-7-7, 25 points) secured a second straight shutout and second straight victory with a 3-0 road win over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4-9-8, 20 points) on Saturday at BC Place in Canada.

Gerso Fernandes gave Sporting the lead in the first half and capped off the scoring with a goal in the 90th minute, in addition to assisting Felipe Gutierrez’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.

Tim Melia recorded a season-high six saves for the 58th win, breaking a tie with Jimmy Nielsen for the most by a goalkeeper in club history, and 43rd shutout of his MLS career – all coming with Sporting since joining the club in 2015.

Melia anchored a starting lineup on Saturday that was unchanged from Sporting’s 1-0 win against the Chicago Fire last weekend as Peter Vermes enjoyed the luxury of fielding the same starting lineup for back-to-back MLS matches for the first time during an injury-riddled 2019 season.

That meant the backline of Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Botond Barath and Seth Sinovic once again started together, earning their fourth clean sheet in five regular season matches as a defensive unit.

Sporting controlled more than 60 percent of the possession in the first half and applied ample pressure before the breakthrough goal came in the 24th minute.

Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Zac MacMath did well to push away Graham Zusi’s curling free kick in the 13th minute and was well positioned to keep out Daniel Salloi’s shot five minutes later, but was finally beaten on a shot from Fernandes that deflected off the foot of Ali Adnan and was officially ruled an own goal.

With Sporting in search of a second and Vancouver pushing forward to equalize, both sides would create chances on either side of halftime.

Sporting came close to doubling the lead in the 39th minute as Yohan Croizet’s well-struck volley was re-directed by Salloi from close range only to end up straight at MacMath, while Melia made his best save of the night to turn away Inbeom Hwang’s free kick in the 48th minute and moments later watched 19-year-old Homegrown forward Theo Bair’s shot miss narrowly wide of the post.

As the game opened up, Fernandes nearly put his name on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute if not for a superb kick save from MacMath and then tallied an assist minutes afterward on a night in which he completed 37 of 38 passes, including 30 of 30 in the attacking half of the field.

Fernandes beat his defender and laid the ball off to Gutierrez on his left, leaving the rest to the Chilean international to take a single touch forward before unleashing a low blast from 25 yards out that bulged the back of the net.

Gutierrez now has eight goals on the campaign, which is the most of any midfielder in MLS and seventh most among all players, in addition to logging six chances created on Saturday, most by any Sporting player in a match this season.

Despite a close call when Yordy Reyna’s free kick rattled the post in the 76th minute, Sporting continued to threaten for a third goal over the course of the final 30 minutes.

MacMath was forced into tipping Ilie’s dipping effort over the bar and produced a one-on-one stop on Salloi before Fernandes put the exclamation point on an emphatic performance with a much-deserved goal in the 90th minute.

Second-half substitutes Johnny Russell and Krisztian Nemeth linked up as Nemeth cut the ball through a crowded goalmouth to find Fernandes at the back post for a first-time finish with his left foot.

The victory was Sporting’s 30th against Canadian opposition in the regular season and 12th on Canadian soil – both of which are most among all American MLS teams – but most importantly moves Sporting within four points of a playoff position currently held by seventh-place FC Dallas ahead of next Saturday’s clash between the two MLS charter clubs at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets are available online at SeatGeek.com and fans are encouraged to arrive early for the induction of Josh Wolff into the Sporting Legends hall of honor during the pre-game festivities.

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