Photo: Kristina Bonner

Monarchs Scratch Out Win On Star Wars Night

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Never tell them the odds.

In front of one of its largest crowds of the season on Star Wars Night, the Kansas City Monarchs produced a win from a Galaxy Far, Far Away. They needed just one hit to do it. 

Kansas City struck back against the Lincoln Saltdogs, scoring four unanswered for a 4-3 victory at Legends Field. The runs scored on a throwing error, hit by pitch, and a fielder’s choice.

Kansas City (9-5) was held to its fewest hits all season, yet erased a three-run deficit for the third time this season. The Monarchs found a new hope from their bullpen before winning it with the bats, recording four scoreless innings from Jonathan Sprinkle, Hunter McMahon, J.C. Keys, and Zack Leban.

“[We’re] just having a dog mentality,” Keys said. “Going out there, filling up the zone, [and] giving our team the best chance to win.”

The first order of business was keeping an early deficit at three.

Lincoln (6-9) got started early, but Will McAffer attacked the Saltdogs after the second inning. 

McAffer hurled three consecutive scoreless frames to close out his outing, fanning three batters.

McAffer closed his outing with a season-high five innings and six punchouts.

Keys earned his American Association-leading fourth win of the season with his scoreless eighth.

“Just hang a zero,” Keys said. “Give my team the ability to be able to win a ball game, and that’s how it went tonight.”

The Monarchs didn’t muster anything off Parisi until the fifth. Frankie Tostado lifted a double to left field, putting two in scoring position. Bryan Aguilar brought in Tucker Bradley and Tostado on a throwing error by Saltdogs third baseman Jack Dragum. 

Three walks set up Travis Swaggerty, who tied the game on a hit-by-pitch against Saltdogs reliever

The RBI force is strong with Blake Rutherford this season. The former major leaguer recorded his 19th of the season on a fielder’s choice to give the Monarchs the lead.

“This team, we’re fighters,” Keys said. “We’re going to fight, scratch, and claw until the end.”

Leban didn’t give in to the hate, staying composed to earn his third save of the season with a hitless ninth inning.

The Monarchs close a 10-game homestand against the Saltdogs for Family & Faith Day at 1:05 pm. Kids can run the bases following the final out, tickets are available at monarchsbaseball.com