T-Bones Clinch Championship Berth; Defeat Sioux City 4-2
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - The Kansas City T-Bones are headed to the American Association Championship Series after defeating the Sioux City Explorers 4-2 Sunday evening. It was an extra-sweet win for Kansas City, who spent most of the season in second place behind the Explorers. 2018 was a record-breaking year for the T-Bones, as they ended their regular season with a franchise-high 62 wins and only 37 losses. Manager Joe Calfapietra was named Manager of the Year, Todd Cunningham was honored as an all-star and Tommy Collier was awarded Pitcher of the Month in both July and August.
The T-Bones will now take on the St. Paul Saints, the Northern Division series winners, in the best-of-five American Association Championship Series Tuesday and Wednesday in Minnesota. They will return to Kansas City for a Friday night game, in addition to Saturday and Sunday games, if needed.
Sunday evening in Sioux City, Tommy Collier had a spectacular performance, holding Sioux City hitless until the fifth and striking out a total of nine batters. Six of the first eight half-innings were three-up, three-down.
It was scoreless going into the fifth when Adrian Nieto led off with a solo home run over the left field fence to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, a double to left by Jay Baum and a pair of walks loaded the bases, but Tommy Collier, who leads the league in strikeouts, eliminated the threat by striking out the last two batters of the inning.
Todd Cunningham led off the seventh with a single to center and Adrian Nieto singled to center to put runners at the corners. With one out, the Explorers brought in reliever Ryan Horstman for starting pitcher James Dykstra. Horstman threw four pitches, all balls, to walk the first batter he faced, Keith Curcio, and load the bases. Sioux City went to their bullpen again, bringing in Luis Mateo, who struck out Alay Lago. Danny Hayes, on a 2-2 pitch, smacked a three-run RBI double to right field to clear the bases and put the T-Bones up 4-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Sioux City grabbed a run to get on the board and prevent a shutout. Blake Schmit hit a single to right field, advanced to third on a double to left field by Dylan Kelly, then scored on a single to third by Daniel Jackson.
In the eighth, Joe Filomeno came in for relief of Tommy Collier, who worked seven innings, giving up only one run. Dean Green reached base after being hit by a pitch, Jay Baum walked and Green was then driven home by Blake Schmit, who singled to center field.
Cody Winiarski came in to close out the ninth and Kansas City won it by a final score of 4-2.
Game time Tuesday evening at St. Paul is 7:05. You can listen to all of the action with the voice of the T-Bones, Dan Vaughan Jr., at http://mixlr.com/t-bones-baseball/.
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American Association Stories from September 9, 2018
- T-Bones Clinch Championship Berth; Defeat Sioux City 4-2 - Kansas City T-Bones
- Saints Back in American Association Finals for First Time Since 2011 - St. Paul Saints
- X's Behind McKinney Force Deciding Game Five - Sioux City Explorers
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