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.