Explorers Retake Wild Card on Kelly Walk Off
Sioux City, IA - It was a game that had it all. Pitching, defense clutch hitting, a playoff atmosphere, and it went the way of the Sioux City Explorers. Dylan Kelly ends up the hero with the walk off hit in the ninth to finish off a two run final frame for the X's and beat the Kansas City T-Bones, 3-2.
The X's used some classic "baseball Sioux City style" to grab the lead in the first. Nate Samson drew a two out walk and stole second base to get into scoring position. Jeremy Hazelbaker drove him home with a single to right making it 1-0 X's.
From there the pitchers took over as Carlos Sierra tossed five and two thirds innings of one run ball for the Explorers. Sierra took the no decision as he allowed four hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
The only trouble Sierra ran into was in the sixth as with two outs Shawn O'Malley doubled down the left field line. Chris Colabello drove him home with a base hit to right field tying the game 1-1.
Sierra to that point was locked into a pitchers duel with Dylan Baker who also took a no decision. Baker was fantastic for the T-Bones tossing seven and two-thirds, allowing just a single run on five hits, striking out seven and walking only two.
Kansas City took the lead in the seventh as Casey Gillaspie doubled to lead off the frame. A ground out to second moved him to third which allowed Christian Correa to bring home Gillaspie with a sacrifice fly to right field and give Kansas City the lead 2-1.
The X's would threaten in the eighth inning with runners at second and third with two outs but Carlos Diaz who was called upon to make a four out save struck out Hazelbaker to end the threat.
But the X's would come back in the ninth staging a dramatic rally against Diaz. After Jose Sermo flied out to center field to lead off the inning, Dexture McCall would draw a walk and relieve base running duties to Joel Davis. Justin Felix was then called upon to pinch hit and the rookie was also able to draw a walk to put two men aboard. Sebastian Zawada then tied the game with a base hit to right field, as Davis came around to score and Felix went to third on the play. Dylan Kelly then on an 0-2 count lined the pitch into centerfield to win the ball game for the Explorers 3-2.
With the win the X's take the rubber game of the series from the T-Bones, winning the final two games of the series. The Explorers also jump ahead of Kansas City by a half game for the South Division Wild Card.
The X's will continue their final home stand of the regular season on Wednesday as they welcome the Cleburne Railroaders back to town. First pitch of game one of the series is at 7:12 pm.
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