The Double Play Giveth and It Taketh Away
Sioux City, IA - Time is a flat circle. On the one year anniversary of the Sioux City Explorers turning five double plays against the Lincoln Saltdogs, the X's tie an American Association record by turning six double plays against their longtime rivals. Yet in an ironic twist the Explorers ninth inning rally was cut short of tying the game by a game ending double play and Lincoln hands the X's their second loss of the season by a score of 4-3.
Sioux City turned half of their double plays in the first three innings. Ending all three Saltdog chances with a twin killing.
Both teams went scoreless for the first four innings of play though each team threatened with base runners. It wasn't until the fifth when Lincoln would score all four of their runs in the game. It began with a one out single by Ivan Marin, John Sansone would take a pitch off his batting helmet to add another base runner. Marin would score on a Randolph Oduber base hit, to make it so that in all three games, the team to score first won the game. A walk to Tyler Moore loaded the bases for Lincoln. Curt Smith then hit a ground ball to third which was bobbled for an error allowing a run to score. A two run single by Cody Regis capped off the rally for Lincoln and they staked themselves to a 4-0 lead after five innings.
All four runs were charged to Zach Jemiola (0-1) who made his Sioux City debut. He would last 4 1/3 innings, allowing the 4 runs on 4 hits, he would not record a strikeout and walk 6 in the outing.
On the other end Ricky Knapp (1-0) was making his Independent ball, and Saltdogs debut and tossed 5 shutout innings for Lincoln. Making it 11 shut out innings in the past two games for Saltdogs starting pitching.
Lincoln would turn the bullpen and the Explorers were able to push some runs across late. It began in the seventh inning when Daytona Bryden walked for already the sixth time this season. He was followed by Michael Lang who reached on an infield single. Nate Samson walked to load the bases for Sioux City. Last seasons player of the year, Jose Sermo, came through for the Explorers as he singled and brought home Bryden and Lang to cut the Lincoln lead in half.
Sioux City added double plays in the the fifth and seventh innings giving them five on the night. In the eighth with Tyler Fallwell on the mound and runners on the corners with one out for Lincoln, Smith hit a line drive back up the middle. It skimmed over Fallwell's glove but second baseman Nelson Ward was there to back him up. He collected the ball on a hop, stepped on second himself and completed the league tying double play with the throw to first keeping it 4-2 Lincoln.
In the ninth, Colby Blueberg (2) came on for Lincoln and just like the night before began the inning by plunking a batter. Unlucky for him it was the speedy Lang who then occupied first base. Samson, last seasons batting champ then doubled down the left field line, and with the ball rattling around in the corner Lang took advantage and scored all the way from first to bring Sioux City within a run and Samson was in prime scoring position at second base with nobody out. After a pop out, and a wild pitch Samson was at third with one out. After a walk, to set up the possibility of a game ending double play Blueberg was able to induce just that which allowed the Saltdogs to escape with the 4-3 victory.
The same play that benefitted the X's for a record six times was their same undoing and ended the comeback bid, leaving the tying run just ninety feet away.
Sioux City will look to even the series on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Lincoln Saltdogs at 4:02 pm from MercyOne Field at Lewis and Clark Park. Eric Karch the closer for the Explorers from the 2018 season will get the call to start and will be opposed by right hander John Brownell for Lincoln.
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American Association Stories from May 18, 2019
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