Monarchs’ road comes to an end

by Dan Vaughan Jr., Monarchs

The Kansas City Monarchs (3-2) championship road came to a heartbreaking end Thursday night at Legends Field as the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (4-2) punched their ticket to the American Association Championship Series (Miles Wolff Cup) with a 4-1 win.

The RedHawks got stellar starting pitching from true rookie Peyton Wigginton (1-0), who held the league’s leading offense in check, scattering six hits over six shutout innings.

The RedHawks grabbed the lead in the top of the third inning with a lead off single by Evan Alexander and a two-run home run from Christian Correa to left to make it 2-0 off Monarchs starter Jalen Miller (0-1).

While Wigginton was able to hold the Monarchs off the board, Kansas City did have chances to get the offense going. The Monarchs got a runner on in each of the first four innings and had the bases loaded in the fourth, but Wigginton was able to make the key pitches to keep Kansas City at bay.

The RedHawks got a one out double in the fifth and scored on a wide throw at first on a ground ball to the deep right side of the infield from Ryan Grotjohn. The Monarchs’ second sacker made a great diving play in a deep shift in shallow right field, but the throw was low and bounced wide of first baseman Casey Gillaspie for an unearned run.

Fargo tacked on another run in the top of the sixth on a lead off double from John Silviano off Jordan Martinson. Manuel Boscan hit a ball to short that Pete Kozma threw to third to get Silviano, but the throw was low and Darnell Sweeney could not come up with the ball, putting runners at the corners. Alec Olund hit a shallow fly to right for the first out, but Evan Alexander hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it a 4-0 score in favor of the RedHawks.

Kansas City loaded the bases once again on Wigginton in the sixth, but the left-hander again made a big pitch to get out of the inning with two outs. Tanner Riley came in for the RedHawks in the seventh and walked J.C. Escarra then got a double play ball off the bat of Kevin Santa. The rookie right-hander then issued back-to-back walks to Mallex Smith and Darnell Sweeney before Joe Jones came in to get the final out.

The Monarchs’ lone run came in the home half of the eighth inning. Jan Hernandez singled off Jones with one out. Casey Gillaspie then doubled to left to put runners at second and third. Kozma struck out but a wild pitch from Jones brought home Hernandez for the only Monarchs’ run. Jones retired Escarra with a pop to second and the Monarchs went to the ninth down 4-1.

Closer Alex Dubord worked the ninth for the RedHawks. He retired the first two batters before Sweeney hit a single off the wall in left. Grotjohn smoked a ball to the right side to shallow right, into the defensive shift right into the glove of second baseman Peter Maris to finish the game, closing the book on the Monarchs’ season by a 4-1 score.

The RedHawks move on to play the Milwaukee Milkmen, who won the East Division Series on Wednesday night over Cleburne.

The Monarchs led the American Association at the plate hitting .293 during the regular season. The team also led in runs scored (696), home runs (165), OBP (.384) and OPS (.889). On the hill the club had the lowest regular season ERA at 4.40 and tops in strike outs (967) and first in WHIP (1.38). The home run and strikeout totals were new league records and the regular season record of 65-35 was the second highest total in franchise history.

Monarchs lose 8-5 to RedHawks, play for championship tonight

Nick Belzer of the Kansas City Monarchs delivered a pitch in the Monarchs’ 8-5 loss to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Wednesday night, Sept. 14, at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by John Ellis, Kansas City Monarchs)
Ryan Grotjohn of the Kansas City Monarchs hit a single to left in the Monarchs’ 8-5 loss to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Wednesday night, Sept. 14, at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by John Ellis, Kansas City Monarchs)

by Adam Cook, Monarchs

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (3-2) won a back-and-forth battle with the Kansas City Monarchs (3-1) on Wednesday night in Kansas City, Kansas.

The roller coaster of a ballgame featured four lead changes, but Fargo came out on top 8-5 in the tug-of-war match after going ahead in the eighth and never looking back.

Monarchs starting pitcher Nick Belzer led the game off with a two-strike hit-by-pitch to leadoff batter Peter Maris. Belzer retired the next three batters, but Maris scored in the process, having the Monarchs bats enter the bottom half of the inning down 1-0.

However, the Monarchs offense saw their first baserunner in the second inning after Jan Hernandez drew a one-out walk.

Casey Gillaspie followed Hernandez up with a single up the middle that just got past the sliding glove of shortstop Sam Dexter, putting runners at first and third. J.C. Escarra, the hero of game one in Fargo, delivered again with a fielder’s choice that scored Hernandez, evening the score at one. Pete Kozma then made it three straight productive at-bats when he hit a ground ball, scoring Escarra and giving the Monarchs a 2-1 lead.

In the third, the RedHawks threatened with runners on second and third with only one away, but Belzer didn’t allow it to get any worse for Kansas City as he struck out Drew Ward and then got Leobaldo Piña to ground out, stranding both.

The Monarchs also threatened in their half-inning when they got runners at the corners with one away. After a Jacob Robson strikeout, Hernandez came to the plate and smacked a line drive off the left field home run patio, extending the Kansas City lead to two.

An intentional walk to Gillaspie loaded the bases, but Escarra flew out to end the inning with the score 3-1.

The RedHawks again threatened in the fourth, this time loading the bases with one away, but a ground ball right to Santa at the second base bag was cause for an inning-ending double play, again stranding the RedHawks scoreless. The Monarchs also loaded the bases in the bottom half, but a long line drive to deep center field off the bat of Ryan Grotjohn was caught by center fielder Evan Alexander just before the warning track, retiring the inning without a score from either side despite both bases-loaded jams.

After a quiet fifth inning, Manuel Boscan woke Legends Field up in the top of the sixth with a two-run blast to left field, tying the game at threes.

The RedHawks then caught a break in the seventh when Brandon Koch came on and allow two walks, putting runners at first and second with two outs. Then, a ground ball to Monarchs first baseman Gillapsie was mishandled, loading the bases for John Silviano, who delivered with a two-RBI single, making the score 5-3 Fargo-Moorhead.

The bottom of the seventh also proved fruitful for the home nine, however. Grotjohn stepped to the plate with one out and put a charge into one, sending an absolute blast to the top of the right field home run hill, cutting the deficit to one. Then, Robson walked and stole second base, putting himself in scoring position when Gillaspie stepped in with two outs. Gillaspie made up for his earlier mistake and came through with an RBI double to the left field corner, tying the game once again, this time at five apiece.

Monarchs relief pitcher Jeremy Rhoades began the eighth inning on the bump, and promptly walked Alec Olund. Olund was moved to second by way of a sacrifice bunt, and then scored with an RBI single up the middle by Sam Dexter, once again giving the RedHawks a lead, 6-5.

After a relatively quiet eighth, Alex Valdez came on for the Monarchs to attempt to shut down the top of the ninth. His inning uncharacteristically got off to a shaky start, allowing a walk and then a single.

Silviano then made it three straight baserunners when he sliced an RBI single to left field, adding one to the lead but also getting himself thrown out at second as he tried for the double. Olund then drove the nail deeper with another RBI single, bringing the score to 8-5 RedHawks.

In the bottom half, the Monarchs showed little signs of life, going down in four batters and sending the West Division Championship Series to a decisive game three.

The Monarchs are back in action for the winner-takes-all rubber match at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6 p.m. and the video stream airing on aa

Tickets to Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting

Monarchs in division championship game tonight

The Kansas City Monarchs are playing in the West Division Championship Series tonight at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Monarchs will play the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the second game of the series at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Sept. 14.

The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning 30 minutes before game time and the video stream airing on aa

Tickets to Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting