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Champions: Saints Claim First Title in 15 Years with 6-3 Victory, Sweep Series

September 14, 2019 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints News Release

ST. PAUL, MN - It was a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 5 that sent the St. Paul Saints to their last championship in 2004. The 2019 Saints didn't need five games, but they got the grand slam. Chesny Young, who had just six home runs in 505 games entering this season, hit the most memorable home run of his career. His grand slam in the sixth inning gave the Saints their first lead of the night as they went on to sweep the Sioux City Explorers in the American Association Finals, with a 6-3 victory on Saturday night at CHS Field in front of 5,353.

With the Saints trailing 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth Brady Shoemaker led off the inning with a single to left off of starter, and former Major Leaguer, Taylor Jordan. John Silviano followed with a single to right-center putting runners at first and second. With one out Josh Allen walked to load the bases and that was the end of the night for Jordan. The Explorers brought in All-Star reliver Nathan Gercken to face Young. On the first pitch he saw, Young crushed a grand slam to the deepest part of the ballpark in left-center field to give the Saints a 5-3 lead. Young hit six home runs in the regular season, one of which was a grand slam and it was the third grand slam in Saints playoff history.

The Saints tacked on an insurance run in the seventh against another All-Star reliever Matt Poberyko as Michael Lang walked with one out. With two outs, Silviano roped a double just inside the bag at first that scored Lang to give the Saints a 6-3 lead.

Karch Kowalczyk, who got the final out of the seventh inning by striking out Nate Samson with runners at first and second and two outs, pitched a perfect eighth.

In the ninth Tanner Kiest came on to close it out. He walked the leadoff hitter Dexture McCall, but struck out pinch hitter Justin Felix. That was followed by a walk to Sebastian Zawada which brought the tying run to the plate in Kyle Wren. On a 2-0 pitch, Wren hit a ground ball to Josh Allen at second, who threw to the shortstop Chris Baker at second for the second out and his relay throw to first ended the game and sent the Saints to their fifth Championship in franchise history.

The Explorers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first when Wren led off the game with a walk. He was picked off of first, but Drew Stankiewicz walked. Samson's ground ball to short was dropped by Baker and the error put runners at first and second. That brought up the former Major Leaguer Jeremy Hazelbaker who hit a three-run homer to right, his second of the playoffs, to make it 3-0.

The Saints got a run back in the third when Baker led off with a solo homer to left, his second of the playoffs.

This is the first title for the Saints in the American Association and they have now won championships in 1993, their first ever season, 1995, 1996 and 2004 to go along with this season.

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