Monarchs Win Fourth Division Title In Four Years

By Nolan Brooks

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas City Monarchs clinched the West Division title with a 6-2 win over the Sioux City Explorers at Legends Field Thursday night.

“It’s great for the organization. This is such a tough league and 100 games is a long time to be on top,” Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra said.

The Monarchs (56-39) clinch the number one seed in the West Division and the freedom of choosing their first round opponent in the playoffs. This is their fourth title in four seasons (not counting 2020, when the club did not play because of COVID).

Game one of Kansas City’s best-of-three first-round playoff series will be on the road on Wednesday. They’ll return home for Game 2 on Friday, September 8th at 7 p.m.

Monarchs starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan threw seven innings allowing one run on nine hits. He struck out seven batters and walked zero.

The Monarchs started the scoring in the bottom of the first. With the bases loaded, Brian O’Grady hit an RBI sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 KC after one.

Kansas City added to their lead in the second inning. Justin Wylie smashed an RBI single to make it 2-0 Monarchs through two.

The Explorers responded with an RBI single from Scott Ota to make it 2-1 Monarchs through three innings.

Kansas City took a 3-1 lead in the fifth. Odubel Herrera singled and made his way to third on a Chris Herrmann single; he scored on a throwing error later in the play.

The Monarchs pulled away in the bottom of the seventh. After loading the bases on walks, Micker Adolfo worked an RBI walk to make it 4-1 KC.

O’Grady hit another sacrifice fly to make it 5-1. Jacob Robson laced an RBI double that made 6-1 Monarchs after seven.

Explorers left fielder Matt Lloyd smoked an RBI single to cut into the Monarchs lead. It was 6-2 Kansas City through eight.

Grant Gavin entered in the ninth and closed out the game. Finnegan got the win (7-5) and Explorers starting pitcher Heitor Tokar got the loss (3-4).

“This is a special group and I’m so proud of Joe and this organization,” Monarchs owner Mark Brandmeyer said. “It’s very special for Kansas City and it’s very special for this team.”

UP NEXT: The Monarchs begin a four-game home series versus the Lake Country DockHounds. Game one is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday. Miller Hogan will be on the mound for the Monarchs versus Lake Country’s David Richardson.

Explorers’ Ninth-Inning Runs Sink Monarchs

By Nolan Brooks

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Two ninth-inning insurance runs lifted the Sioux City Explorers to a 4-1 win over the Kansas City Monarchs at Legends Field Wednesday night.

The Monarchs (55-38) are still one game away from clinching their fourth consecutive division championship. Micker Adolfo homered for the Monarchs.

Explorers starting pitcher Austin Drury threw six innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out eight batters.

The Explorers started the scoring in the top of the third. Matt Lloyd smoked an RBI double to put Sioux City up 1-0. Wilfredo Gimenez hit an RBI infield single on a comebacker to the mound. It was 2-0 Explorers after three.

Both bullpens settled in from there. Monarchs reliever Matt Hartman threw three scoreless innings of relief. Hartman struck out four batters and allowed only one hit and one walk.

The Monarchs got on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Adolfo smashed his solo home run to make it 2-1 Sioux City after seven.

Patrick Weigel entered in the top of the ninth to try and keep it a one-run game. But RBI singles from Daniel Lingua and Gimenez made it 4-1.

Explorers closer Sean Rackoski entered in the ninth and closed out the game. Rackoski now has 19 saves on the season.

Drury got the win (5-5) and Monarchs starter Ashton Goudeau got the loss (2-1). Goudeau exited after three innings of work with two strikeouts. He allowed two earned runs on five hits and three walks.

UP NEXT: The Monarchs conclude a three-game home series versus the Explorers. Game three is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday. Brandon Finnegan will start on the mound for the Monarchs.

Explorers’ Big Fifth-Inning Silences Monarchs

By Nolan Brooks

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A five-run top of the fifth boosted the Sioux City Explorers to an 8-4 victory over the Kansas City Monarchs at Legends Field Tuesday night.

The Monarchs (55-38) remain one game away from clinching their fourth consecutive West Division championship.

Sioux City starting pitcher Solomon Bates threw 4.1 innings before leaving the game with an injury. He gave up one earned run on two hits and two walks. He struck out three.

Chris Herrmann hit his 22nd homer of the season to increase his lead at the top of the league RBI leaderboard. He now has 86 on the season.

Monarchs starting pitcher Zach Matson and Sioux City’s Bates started the game in a pitcher’s duel. Both teams were scoreless through three innings.

The Explorers got on the board first in the top of the fourth. Back-to-back solo shots from Scott Ota and John Nogowski made it 2-0 Explorers.

The Explorers plated five runs in the top of the fifth inning. A throwing error from Justin Wylie allowed a run to score making it 3-0. Daniel Lingua dropped a bunt single down that scored a run to make it 4-0.

After Sioux City loaded the bases, Matt Lloyd smoked an RBI double to make it 6-0. Wilfredo Giminez hit an RBI double one batter later that pushed the Explorers’ lead to 7-0 midway through the fifth.

The Monarchs rallied in the bottom of the fifth. LJ Hatch smashed an RBI double to get the Monarchs on the board, making it 7-1.

Andy Yerzy would later score from third on a balk call on Explorers reliever Trenton Toplikar that made it 7-2. Odubel Herrera later grounded out to score Hatch. It was 7-3 Explorers after five innings.

Lingua hit an RBI double that pushed the Explorers’ lead to 8-3 after six innings.

Herrmann’s solo homer in the bottom of the eighth made it 8-4 for the final score of the game.

Sean Rockoski entered in the ninth and closed out the game for the Explorers. Explorers reliever Max Kuhns got the win (1-0) and Matson got the loss (5-4).

UP NEXT: The Monarchs continue a three-game home series versus the Explorers. Game two is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. Ashton Goudeau will start on the mound for the Monarchs versus Sioux City’s Austin Drury.

Monarchs Outlast Winnipeg, Could Clinch Division Tuesday

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Micker Adolfo tied the game in the ninth with an RBI single, Justin Wylie delivered the game-winning hit in the 11th and the Kansas City Monarchs held off the Winnipeg Goldeyes 7-6 Sunday afternoon at Shaw Park.

The result means the Monarchs will clinch their fourth division title in four seasons with a win over Sioux City Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Fans can buy tickets at

Former major leaguer Zac Grotz got the start Sunday in his Monarchs debut. He allowed five runs (one earned) on nine hits, walking none and striking out five.

Kansas City took the early lead, scoring three runs in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Two runs scored on wild pitches from Goldeyes starter Travis Seabrooke; the third came across on a Taylor Snyder sacrifice fly.

The Goldeyes tied the game with a three-run third. Miles Simington and Javeyan Williams contributed RBI hits in the inning.

A Jan Hernandez RBI single gave the Monarchs a short-lived lead in the fourth. Winnipeg countered with two in the bottom half, including an RBI single from Max Murphy to make it 5-4.

Monarchs pitcher Bubby Rossman, who was pressed into the starting lineup after a last-minute scratch, doubled with one out in the eighth. He scored the tying run on an LJ Hatch two-bagger one batter later.

Seabrooke threw seven innings for Winnipeg, allowing five runs on eight hits. He walked four and struck out four, throwing 113 pitches.

Winnipeg retook the lead in the eighth. Tra Holmes hit an automatic double over the left center-field wall to drive in Najee Gaskins. The Goldeyes went on to leave the bases loaded in the inning.

Adolfo’s double tied the game in the ninth. Patrick Weigel put up a zero in the bottom half to send it to extras.

The Monarchs went down in order in the 10th, meaning reliever Grant Gavin had to strand the bonus runner in the bottom half to keep the game alive.

The Goldeyes loaded the bases with no one out, but Tra Holmes struck out swinging and Dayson Croes hit into a thrilling 4-3-2 double play. Snyder started the play, firing to Chris Herrmann at home plate. Herrmann sent the ball to Andy Yerzy at first for the final out of the inning.

That set the stage for Wylie, who drove Hatch (the bonus runner) in with his double.

Matt Hartman tossed a scoreless 11th to seal the win, getting Williams to pop out with a man on third to end it.

Monarchs Bats Go Quiet In Loss At Goldeyes

PHOTO: David Mahussier / Winnipeg Goldeyes

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — R.J. Martinez threw a complete-game shutout to guide the Winnipeg Goldeyes to a 2-0 win over the Kansas City Monarchs Saturday night at Shaw Park.

The second-year pro threw 137 pitches to complete the effort. He allowed four hits and five walks, striking out two.

Kansas City moved closer to a division title despite the loss. Second-place Sioux City lost to Fargo-Moorhead 8-6. That means the Monarchs can clinch the division Sunday with a win and another Sioux City defeat.

Miller Hogan delivered another strong start on the mound for Kansas City, allowing two runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work. He walked one and struck out five.

The Goldeyes got to Hogan in the fourth. Miles Simington, who went 4-for-4 in the game, led off the inning with a bloop single. Tommy McCarthy drove him in with a line-drive double to right field to make it 1-0.

Winnipeg added its second run in the seventh on a Dayson Croes sacrifice fly. Javeyan Williams scored to make it 2-0 and chase Hogan from the game.

Trey Cobb got Kansas City’s last five outs on the mound. The sinkerballer induced two double plays.


Kansas City goes for the series win Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Former major leaguer Zac Grotz makes his Monarchs debut as the starting pitcher. He’ll face off with Winnipeg’s Travis Seabrooke.

Monarchs Outlast Goldeyes In 13-Inning Classic

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — LJ Hatch had to get the play right.

In the 13th inning of the game of the Kansas City Monarchs’ season so far, the Winnipeg Goldeyes had the tying run on third with one out.

The Monarchs grinded through a 13-hour bus ride the night before to get to Canada. They were up a run after Hatch’s go-ahead single in the top of the inning. No one wanted the game to go any longer.

So when Keith Torres hit a hard grounder, Hatch knew what to do.

“I was pretty much ready for a ball to come to me,” Hatch said. “I kind of trapped it on the ground, made sure the guy at third didn’t go anywhere, and made a good throw to first base.”

Hatch made a routine play one batter later to seal a 3-2 win for Kansas City, an instant classic that brings the Monarchs even closer to their fourth division title in four seasons.

What started as an epic pitchers’ duel turned into a nail-biter in extra innings, with both sides passing up chances to put the game away.

The win moves the Monarchs (54-36) seven games clear of second-place Sioux City in the American Association West with nine games left to play.

“Every guy here in the clubhouse is grinding right now to win ballgames and claim the number one spot in the West,” said Jan Hernandez, who homered for Kansas City.

Hernandez’ home run put the Monarchs up 1-0 in the first inning. His 13th home run of the season left the yard quickly out to left field.

“He threw me a fastball in, and I was ready for that pitch,” Hernandez said.

It was all the Monarchs would get against Goldeyes starter Joey Matulovich. The right-hander struck out 12 over nine innings of one-run ball. He threw 118 pitches.

Matulovich threw an immaculate inning in the second, striking out three Monarchs batters on nine total pitches.

Monarchs starter Brandon Finnegan was every bit as good, allowing one run on just two hits over seven innings.

Andy Armstrong homered off the right-field foul pole in the fourth to tie the game at one.

The Goldeyes nearly took the lead in the eighth inning. Chris Burgess doubled to lead off the frame and headed for the plate on a single from Tra Holmes. Jan Hernandez threw home and home plate umpire Mayhue Edwards called Burgess out.

Burgess, Goldeyes manager Greg Tagert, and the Shaw Park crowd were furious, claiming Burgess got under the tag. But the game continued into extra innings.

The Monarchs failed to score in the 10th, but Matt Hartman retired all three batters he faced to keep the game tied.

Chris Herrmann gave the Monarchs a 2-1 edge with an RBI single in the 11th. It was Herrman’s league-best 85th RBI of the season.

“He’s the MVP right now. There’s no doubt about it. The way he took those at-bats in the clutch moments, it’s a major-league player,” Hernandez said. “I’m glad to be with him on the same team.”

The Goldeyes tied the score in the 11th on a single from Dayson Croes. A line drive from Hidekel Gonzalez later in the inning looked like it would win the game for the Goldeyes, but Monarchs left fielder Taylor Snyder made an over-the-shoulder catch to keep the game tied.

Neither side got a run across in the 12th, with Trey Jeans throwing a 1-2-3 inning to keep the Monarchs alive.

Hatch gave Kansas City the lead for good with his single in the 13th. It was the Monarchs’ longest game of the year by innings.

“I’ve never been on a winning team in my career. It would be pretty sweet to have that advantage in the playoffs,” Hatch said. “We went through the ups and downs of a season, and we’re proud of what we’ve done.”


Kansas City goes for a series win Saturday night at 6 p.m. Miller Hogan will start for the Monarchs against Winnipeg’s RJ Martinez.

Former Mariner Grotz Joins Monarchs Rotation

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Another major-league arm is joining the Kansas City Monarchs, just in time for the playoffs.

Zac Grotz, who pitched for the Seattle Mariners in 2019 and 2020, is joining the Monarchs’ roster, the American Association club announced Friday.

Grotz is scheduled to start the Monarchs’ game Sunday afternoon against Winnipeg.

The Monarchs now have nine former major leaguers on their roster. They clinched a playoff spot Thursday night and are closing in on their fourth division title in four seasons.

Grotz, 30, has nine seasons of professional experience including stints with five different major league organizations.

The San Francisco Bay Area native made his major-league debut with Seattle on August 2, 2019. He posted a 4.15 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 14 relief appearances with the Mariners that season, striking out 18 in 17.1 innings.

Grotz returned to the M’s big-league roster in 2020. He recorded four strikeouts in five appearances, including fanning future MVP Shohei Ohtani.

A 28th-round draft pick by Houston out of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2015, Grotz spent one year in the Astros’ system. He posted a 3.27 ERA between Rookie-level Greeneville and Low-A Tri-City that year.

Grotz started the 2016 season with the Washington WildThings of the Frontier League. He earned a 1.36 ERA and 51/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio and had his contract transferred to the Dodgers organization.

After five rookie-level appearances with the Dodgers in 2016, Grotz signed with Bridgeport in the Atlantic League for the 2017 season. He posted a 3.77 ERA and 9.7 K/9 over 67 relief appearances that season.

Grotz returned to the Atlantic League for the 2018 season, starting the season with York. He delivered a 2.53 ERA in seven games (four starts) and once again had his contract transferred, this time to the Mets organization.

After 13 starts with Class A Columbia in 2018, Grotz caught on with the Mariners organization for 2019 and became one of the top minor-league arms in the country. He posted a 2.39 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 28 appearances (six starts) between Double-A and Triple-A that season, priming him for his big-league call-up.

Grotz made eight appearances for Triple-A Worcester in the Red Sox system in 2021, missing some time with injury. He was teammates that season with Monarchs catcher Chris Herrmann and Monarchs pitching coach Matt Hall.

Most recently, Grotz has 10 appearances (seven starts) this season with Monclova in the Mexican summer league.

The Monarchs have the American Association’s best record at 53-36 heading into Friday’s action. They lead the West Division by six games with 10 games to go.

Monarchs Clinch Playoff Spot

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Kansas City Monarchs clinched their fifth consecutive appearance in the American Association playoffs with a 7-3 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs Thursday night at Haymarket Park.

The Monarchs (53-36) are the first team in the American Association to clinch a playoff spot. Their magic number is five to win the West Division, which they lead by six games.

Monarchs right fielder Micker Adolfo hit a home run and a two-run double. Taylor Snyder was 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.

Monarchs starter Jalen Miller threw five scoreless innings to earn his 10th win of the season. He allowed four hits and five walks while striking out three.

Kansas City scored four runs before the game’s first out was recorded to take control of the game. Justin Wylie, Adolfo and Brian O’Grady contributed run-scoring doubles in the frame.

Saltdogs starter Tanner Brown was pulled in the middle of an at-bat without getting an out in the first inning. John Bezdicek took over from there, allowing two runs on five hits over six innings.

Snyder’s two-run home run gave Kansas City a 6-0 edge after three innings.

Lincoln closed the gap in the late innings. Luis Roman hit a solo homer in the sixth. Luke Roskam followed him up with his own solo shot in the seventh to make it 6-2.

Roman scored on a ground ball from Conor Panas in the eighth to get within three.

Adolfo blasted a no-doubt solo shot in the ninth to bring the game to its final score. It was Adolfo’s 12th home run of the season and second in as many nights. He has 10 RBIs over his last four games.

Patrick Weigel threw a scoreless ninth for Kansas City. Odubel Herrera made a diving catch in center field for the final out.


Kansas City sets their sights on the division title this weekend against Winnipeg. The Goldeyes and Monarchs open a three-game series Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Brandon Finnegan will start for the Monarchs against Winnipeg’s Joey Matulovich.

Goudeau, Longballs Lead Monarchs To Win

LINCOLN, Neb. — Four home runs powered the Kansas City Monarchs to a road victory Wednesday. They topped the Lincoln Saltdogs 9-3 in the second game of the teams’ three-game set from Haymarket Park.

Chris Herrmann, Micker Adolfo, Taylor Snyder and LJ Hatch all homered for Kansas City. The Monarchs never trailed in the game.

“This is the time where I feel like guys need to start getting hot, because these are the games that really matter,” Herrmann said on the team’s playoff push.

The Monarchs are now 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee for the best record in the American Association and six games up on Sioux City for the best record in the West Division.

Ashton Goudeau earned the win in his second start as a Monarch. The former major leaguer allowed one run on seven hits in five-plus innings. He walked two and struck out nine, matching a season high for any Monarchs starter.

Herrmann drove in three runs in the game, moving him into first place on the league’s RBI leaderboard with 84.

“I’m always going to be ready for the fastball, but if I see something that’s going to be over the heart of the plate, I’m going to be ready to hit,” Herrmann said.

Hatch’s home run made it 2-0 KC in the third inning. Snyder hit his solo shot in the fourth to put the Monarchs up three.

Kansas City added four more in the seventh to break the game open. Herrmann delivered a two-run single, and Micker Adolfo followed him up with a two-run home run.

Conor Panas homered to make it 7-3, but Herrmann’s solo shot in the ninth and a bases-loaded walk from Hatch brought the game to its final score.


Kansas City goes for the sweep Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The Monarchs will start Jalen Miller against Lincoln’s Tanner Brown.

Correa Joins Monarchs Pitching Staff

LINCOLN, Neb. — A former Royals prospect is joining the Kansas City Monarchs just in time for the playoff push.

Jean Correa, a 25-year-old pitcher from Venezuela, has signed with the American Association club, the Monarchs announced Wednesday.

Correa made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League with the Royals in 2018 at the age of 20, playing there for two years. He comes to the Monarchs from the Reds organization, where he reached High-A last season.

The Guayana, Venezuela native earned a 2.01 ERA in the DSL his second year in 2019, striking out 28 against just three walks in 15 appearances.

After sitting out in 2020 during the pandemic, Correa made his American debut with Rocky Mountain in the Pioneer League, an MLB partner circuit. He struck out 94 in 90 innings of work over 18 games (16 starts). He ranked in the top 10 in strikeouts and innings pitched that season in one of the most hitter-friendly leagues in the country.

Correa moved within the league to the Billings Mustangs for the 2022 season. He began the season in the bullpen, moving to the rotation in late June. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his first start against Boise, eventually throwing a 94-pitch complete-game shutout.

After six innings of two-run baseball against Rocky Mountain one start later, Correa had his contract transferred to the Reds organization. He pitched to a 1.80 ERA in eight games (one start) between Rookie ball, Class A and High-A that summer.

Correa spent most of 2023 back with Class A Daytona. He struck out 8.7 batters per nine innings over 17 appearances with the Tortugas this year. He also made five appearances in the Arizona Complex League with the Reds.

The Monarchs hold the American Association’s best record heading into Wednesday’s action. They lead the West Division by six games with 12 games left in their regular season.