Hall dominates as Monarchs win first post-season game

Matt Hall and the Kansas City Monarchs celebrated a 5-2 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs on Wednesday night, Sept. 7, at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo from Lincoln Saltdogs)
Mallex Smith and the Kansas City Monarchs celebrated a 5-2 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs on Wednesday night, Sept. 7, at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo from Lincoln Saltdogs)

by Dan Vaughan Jr., Monarchs

Lincoln, Nebraska —Matt Hall took the ball for the Kansas City Monarchs (1-0) in game one of the West Division Series Wednesday and showed why he was named the starting pitcher on the American Association Post Season All-Star team.

Hall (1-0) tossed seven innings of one-hit shutout baseball as the Monarchs beat the Lincoln Saltdogs (0-1) 5-2 Wednesday night at Haymarket Park in Lincoln.

With the win the Monarchs need one more win in the best of three-game series to move on to the West Division Championship Series.

The Monarchs got on the board in the first inning with two outs on a solo home run from Ryan Grotjohn off Lincoln ace Greg Minier for a 1-0 lead. From there Minier (0-1) scattered four hits until the seventh.

The Saltdogs got a lead-off single from Justin Byrd to start the game, but that was the only hit Hall allowed the rest of the way. After a two-out walk in the third inning, Hall retired the next 13 batters and left the game after seven. The left-hander struck out eight in seven innings.

In the seventh the Monarchs finally got to Minier. With one out, Jan Hernandez and Casey Gillaspie drew walks. Gio Brusa hit a smash to the keystone corner that turned into an infield single to load the way stations for Kansas City.

Pete Kozma hit another smash to third that ricocheted into foul territory and down the left field line for a double to score two runs. With runners at second and third Lincoln went to right-hander Matt Cronin to take over for Minier.

The Monarchs picked up a run on a passed ball on Skyler Weber and their fifth run on an RBI single from Mallex Smith to give the Monarchs a 5-0 cushion.

Brian Glowicki worked around two base runners in the top of the eighth inning to keep the game 5-0. Jameson McGrane came into the game in the bottom of the ninth. The right-hander allowed a lead-off single to Justin Byrd, but struck out Rayder Ascanio for out number one. The Saltdogs loaded the bases on a single from Ryan Long and walk for Jason Rogers. Former Sioux City Explorer Nate Samson knocked in two runs on a single to right to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Monarchs went to the pen and brought Alex Valdez into the game with the tying run at the plate. Valdez struck out Josh Altman and got a ground ball to short from Wellington Dotel to force out Sampson at second, preserve the win and pick up his first save of the post season.

The Monarchs will be off on Thursday as the series shifts to Kansas City, Kansas.

Kansas City was the only team of the four road teams to win its first-round game Wednesday night. The win was the 39th win in franchise history in the post season.

The Monarchs will play the second game of the playoff series against the Lincoln Saltdogs at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, 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 baseball.tv.

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