Explorers provoke nightmares for the Monarchs

by Jaxson Webb, Monarchs

The Kansas City Monarchs (20-10), for the first time this season got swept by division rival, the Sioux City Explorers (14-15).

Monarchs’ starter Matt Hartman did all he could on the mound, but it still wasn’t enough for the series finale victory.

Game three of the road series in Sioux City, Iowa, served to be a low scoring pitchers duel.

Matt Hartman of the Kansas City Monarchs reached a personal best on the season six innings pitched on Thursday evening, allowing just two runs off six hits. Hartman threw a scoreless first inning but surrendered a run in the bottom of the second inning off a single to center from Blake Tiberi (1-0).

The Monarchs answered the Explorers later, but it wasn’t until the top of the fifth inning when Kansas City used a pinch of small ball to tie things up. Kevin Santa gave himself up by using the short game with a sacrifice bunt to move the baserunners to second and third. The very next at-bat, Joel Booker delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Pete Kozma (1-1).

The eight-year big leaguer, Kozma had himself a night offensively by recording two doubles and scoring the only run for the Monarchs.

Sioux City’s starting pitcher, Patrick Ledet, kept his flawless record on the mound intact by getting the victory, going seven innings with just one run, three walk, and striking out nine batters.

The tide of the game was really shifted in the bottom of the seventh inning when a single was delivered by the Sioux City offense, followed by a throwing error by Joel Booker, advancing Nate Samson in to score (2-1).

Kansas City had chances here and there throughout the game, including a bases-loaded opportunity in the bottom half of the eighth, but the Explorers defense and pitching held tight to escape the threat.

A member of last season’s championship team made his season debut for the Monarchs after being signed earlier this week. Right-handed pitcher Justin Donatella was called on to throw the home half of the eighth inning. Donatella did his part on the hill by recording one strikeout and keeping the hometown Explorers scoreless to give his offense a chance for some late-game heroics.

Sioux City’s Max Kuhns came in to slam the door shut and secure the series sweep for Sioux City. Kuhns struck out all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth.

The loss dethroned the Monarchs from the top spot of the West Division standings, falling just one game back of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

The next Monarchs game will be at 7 p.m. Friday, June 17, at Legends Field against the Milkmen of Milwaukee who are currently in second place of the American Association East Division. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on aabaseball.tv.

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