The Kansas City Monarchs (30-16) made it back-to-back nights with fireworks for 4th of July weekend, except this time they were on the field instead of in the air after a walkoff grand slam gave Kansas City the win and the sweep over the Gary SouthShore RailCats (20-27).
Monarchs starting pitcher Nick Belzer started the game off on the right track with a three-batter inning with the help of a zero out double play. This set the Monarchs up for success in the bottom half, where Darnell Sweeney took the first pitch of the game for the Monarchs offense to the right field Home Run Hill, giving Kansas City an early 1-0 lead.
In the second, the RailCats offense showed a little more life. Victor Nova led the inning off with a fly ball to center that got lost in the sun, giving him a leadoff double. This was followed by a Jesus Marriaga single to score Nova, evening the score at one. Belzer would then record a strikeout and flyout in the next two batters, and pick Marriaga off at first base to end the inning.
The RailCats would stay on Belzer in the top of the third, leading off the inning with a single from Jackson Smith and a double from Alec Olund, giving Gary runners at the corners with no outs. Smith would attempt to go home on a ground ball to Monarchs third baseman David Thompson, but a great heads up play from Thompson would nab him at the plate, keeping the score tied while Olund advanced to third. A sac fly to center by Daniel Lingua would give the RailCats their first lead of the series before Belzer would escape the inning without any more damage. In the bottom half, the Monarchs offense would once again begin to come together. A leadoff single from Darnell Sweeney would set him up to swipe his 19th bag of the season, tying the league lead. Two batters later, Matt Adams would fly out to center field, advancing Sweeney to third. Next man up David Thompson would then deliver with a two-out RBI single over the second baseman to score Sweeney and even the score at two before the turn of the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Belzer got back on track and retired the side in three batters for the first time since the first. Unfortunately for the Monarchs, this would be the theme of the inning, as RailCats starter Adam Heidenfelder would return the 1-2-3 favor to the Monarchs bats.
In the fifth, the RailCats’ Alec Olund hit a one-out triple that would set Thomas Walraven up with an RBI opportunity. Walraven would take advantage of this and then some with a deep two-run home run to left, putting the RailCats ahead 4-2. The Monarchs wouldn’t let the RailCats escape the inning unscathed, however, as they led off the bottom half of the sixth with back-to-back doubles from Sweeney and Kevin Santa, bringing Kansas City within one, 4-3.
Jordan Martinson would relieve Nick Belzer to begin the sixth inning for the Monarchs, and would record a perfect 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom half, the Monarchs would make some noise on the bases with a single and a walk but would strand Willie Abreu at third base to end the inning.
The seventh and the eighth would not provide any fireworks on Fourth of July eve, as only two batters would reach base over the two innings, both by way of the walk.
Jameson McGrane would come on in the top of the ninth and allow a leadoff single to Victor Nova, but he would then strike out the next three batters to strand him on the bases, handing the Monarchs bats a one run deficit entering the bottom of the ninth. After the first two Monarchs of the inning were sat down in order, the next two, Matt Adams and David Thompson, reached base after being hit by pitches. This brought first baseman Casey Gillaspie to the plate with the game on the line. Gillaspie hit a backhand ground ball to shortstop Daniel Lingua, who overthrew first baseman Chris Burgess to score Adams, evening the score at four and sending the game to the tenth inning.
McGrane remained on the bump for the top of the tenth, except this time with a runner at second base for the extra-innings rule. [How runner reached third] Then, he would attempt to score on a ground ball to second baseman Kevin Santa, but Santa would deliver a bullet to catcher J.C. Escarra to nab him at the plate and keep the score tied. In the bottom half, Gaby Guerrero would begin the inning at second base but would remain there after back-to-back strikeouts to begin the inning. With two outs, the RailCats opted to intentionally walk Darnell Sweeney to get to Kevin Santa, who was then unintentionally walked on a 3-2 count, bringing all star Jan Hernandez to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. In the clutch situation, Hernandez did what Hernandez does, and sent a deep drive to right field for a walkoff grand slam, sending a roar through Legends Field and giving the Monarchs the win and the sweep.
The Monarchs hit the road tomorrow (7/4) as they face the Cleburne Railroaders for a three-game series. The Fourth of July matchup starts at 7:06 p.m. and can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:36 p.m. and the video stream airing on aabaseball.tv.
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.Tickets to all Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting
WP: McGrane (1-1)
LP: Eisenbarger (1-4)
By: ADAM COOK