The Kansas City Monarchs (27-15) could not generate enough offense against the Cleburne Railroaders (13-29) Wednesday night, losing 12-9. The Railroaders started off hot and rolled the Monarchs with their early offense and timely pitching.

In the top of the first, Monarchs’ starter Akeem Bostick recorded two strikeouts before surrendering a solo home run to Zach Nehrir. Nehrir’s home run provided the Railroaders with an early 1-0 lead. In the home half of the first, the Monarchs answered quickly and gained their only lead of the night. Darnell Sweeney’s patience at the plate earned him a walk against the Association’s leader in walks, Garrett Alexander. Kevin Santa singled to set up runners at first and second with no outs for Jan Hernandez. Hernandez managed a fly out to right field to aid the baserunners in tagging up. Santa and Sweeney both advanced after an error from Hill Alexander. All-Star, Matt Adams, stepped up to the plate and smashed a double to the wall in deep center to bring home two runs. The Monarchs went quietly the rest of the frame and led 2-1 after one inning played.

The game began to go off the rails for the Monarchs in the second inning, as Bostick loaded the bases with only one out, following a walk, and two singles allowed. Nick Shumpert, who was batting ninth for Cleburne on the night, stepped up to the plate and blasted a grand slam over the bullpen in left center to take the lead back at 6-2. The Railroaders never looked back and did not trail after the second inning. In the bottom of the second, the Monarchs offense cooled quickly and were not able to respond, being retired in quick, one, two, three fashion by Garrett Alexander.

In the third inning, Bostick picked up two more strikeouts with the bases loaded but surrendered another run by walking in Hill Alexander. The Monarchs were again retired in order, striking out three times in the third inning. The Railroaders led 6-2 after three innings played. In the fourth, Cleburne forced a Kansas City call to the bullpen. Following two, two-out singles from Chase Simpson and Hill Alexander, Kacy Clemens smashed a three-run home run. With Cleburne’s lead pushed to 9-2, Brock Gilliam replaced Akeem Bostick, his first appearance pitching for the Monarchs at home since May 30th after a short time on the injured list.

The Monarchs and Railroaders remained scoreless in the fifth inning before both putting runs on the board in the sixth. With two outs, the Railroaders generated some more offense following an error from the Monarchs’ third basemen, Chad De La Guerra, and a single from Kacy Clemens to set up Jacob Bockelie for an RBI double. With two more runs, the Railroaders extended their commanding lead to 11-2. The Monarchs chiseled away at the deficit with a two-out, solo blast to left field from Matt Adams in the bottom of the sixth.

In the top of the seventh, brand new signee Cam Hill, former Cleveland Guardian, took the mound for the Monarchs. In his one inning of work, he allowed one earned run and two hits for the Railroaders. The Monarchs trailed 12-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Kansas City again cut into the lead with a one out single from De La Guerra that set up J.C. Escarra for a two run blast to right field. Darnell Sweeney kept the Monarchs bats hot for a moment with a deep, ground rule double to right center. Sweeney’s double brought Garrett Alexander’s time on the mound to a close. Kevin Santa brought Sweeney home with a single off of fresh from the bullpen, Brendan Bell, before the inning came to a close to leave the Monarchs trailing 12-6.

Brandon Koch replaced Cam Hill in the top of the eighth and retired three of the four batters he faced to hold the Railroaders scoreless. In the bottom of the eighth, the Monarchs continued on the comeback train with a two-out, RBI single from Pete Kozma to drive in Matt Adams. The Monarchs threatened to score more with a blooping single to shallow left field from De La Guerra. J.C. Escarra drove a deep fly ball to the right field warning track that was caught by Hill Alexander to retire the side and dash the hopes of an eighth inning comeback.

In the final frame, Frank Rubio replaced Brandon Koch on the mound. Rubio retired the first two batters he faced before surrendering back to back singles. Rubio settled back into his early inning groove and struck out the final batter he faced in the inning, Chase Simpson. Kansas City faced a large deficit in the final inning for the second time in two nights.

Cleburne relied upon Kevin McCarthy, who entered with one out remaining in the eighth, to slam the door on the Monarchs’ comeback hopes. McCarthy retired Darnell Sweeney with a lineout to first before surrendering a single to Kevin Santa. Santa reached second via a wild pitch before Casey Gillaspie, who replaced Jan Hernandez in the seventh, smashed a towering shot to right field to cut the lead to 12-9. Matt Adams reached first against the shift with a single to put the tying run on deck. Gaby Guerrero popped out to second base to leave the Monarchs’ faithful at home and at Legends field on the edge of their seats. Willie Abreu stepped up to the plate with a chance to keep the Monarchs’ magic alive with two outs. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Abreu hit an infield chopper to McCarthy for a close call at first that resulted in the Monarchs’ final out.

The final game of the four-game series against the Cleburne Railroaders is tomorrow (6/30) at 7 p.m. at Legends Field. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on aabaseball.tv.

Tickets to all Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting monarchsbaseball.com. For additional information or interview requests, members of the media may contact the Monarchs Media Relations Department at (817) 739-3693. Stay tuned to monarchsbaseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.

WP: Garret Alexander (2-5)

LP: Akeem Bostick (3-4)

S: N/A