by Caleb Grizzle, Monarchs
The Kansas City Monarchs (25-12) couldn’t take flight against the Sioux Falls Canaries (12-26) Friday and fell in a close, 5-4 fashion.
The Monarchs started their Friday night right with some two-out magic in the first frame with a Matt Adams two-run blast to right field, following a Gaby Guerrero single.
Akeem Bostick received the start for Kansas City and produced two scoreless innings before surrendering any runs to the Canaries. The Monarchs turned a much needed 6-4-3 double play in the first to snuff out any early momentum for the Canaries.
Both offenses went quietly in the second with flyouts and a pop out from the Monarchs, and a one, two, three inning from Bostick. Bostick recorded his first strikeout to start the second and retired the next two batters with help from the field.
The Monarchs went scoreless in the third, stranding one in scoring position, leading 2-0 heading into the home half.
The Canaries swooped in and stole the lead in the third inning behind a flurry of runs. Aggressive base-running and a leadoff single from Nick Gotta sparked the scoring in the third. Following a walk to load the bases, a hard hit grounder to second base forced an errant throw from Darnell Sweeney that led to two runs to tie the game. The Canaries, with only one out, were not done in the inning with three more RBI singles, before the Monarchs could end the inning.
In the fourth, the Monarchs responded quickly with a leadoff single and aggressive base-running of their own. David Thompson’s leadoff single was followed up by patience at the plate from Jan Hernandez. With two on and no outs the Monarchs executed a double steal during a strikeout. Pete Kozma delivered with an RBI single bringing home the All-Star starters, Thompson and Hernandez. Bostick settled down after the five-run third inning, with a one, two, three frame in the bottom of the fourth. Bostick needed only nine pitches to retire the side.
The fifth inning was scoreless for both teams even as the Canaries threatened, with runners in scoring position, to try and extend their one run lead.
In the sixth, the Monarchs were retired in one, two, three fashion by the Canaries’ reliever Mitchell Walters. Bostick recorded two outs in the bottom of the sixth before Kansas City turned the ball over to Brandon Koch to hold the Canaries at bay in the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, the Monarchs nearly tied it following a one-out double from J.C. Escarra but were unable to bring him home after a warning track flyout from Willie Abreu. Escarra tagged to third base, but after some nifty fielding from the Canaries, they closed the door on the Monarchs comeback attempt in the seventh.
In the home half of the seventh, Koch continued to work in the seventh inning, allowing no runs, one hit and securing one strikeout to continue to hold the Canaries close heading into the final frames.
In the eighth, the Monarchs were shut down and held scoreless after the Canaries called upon their bullpen to bring in Matthew Dunaway. Dunaway retired the Monarchs in order and recorded one strikeout.
The Monarchs relied on Frank Rubio to replace Brandon Koch to hold the Canaries scoreless and provide them one final shot at stealing game one of their the three-game series.
The Canaries’ Riley Ferrell struck out the first batter he faced in the top of the ninth and retired the next two batters he faced to secure his sixth save and slam the door on the Monarchs.
The Monarchs will continue their road trip with game two of three against the Sioux Falls Canaries at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, June 25. The away game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 5:35 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.