The Kansas City Monarchs (27-13) racked up three home runs in a five run fifth inning, one being from newcomer infielder Chad De La Guerra, in a dominating 11-3 win over the Cleburne Railroaders (11-29).
In the first inning, Kansas City loaded the bases against Cleburne starter Josh Lucas. Darnell Sweeney was hit by a pitch, and Gaby Guerrero singled to left field, and Jan Hernandez reached first with a single to right field. A double play ball off the bat of Matt Adams sent Sweeney across home plate to give the Monarchs an early 1-0 lead.
Cleburne was quick to tie and then take the lead in the second, courtesy of Hector Sanchez and Eddie Hernandez. Alexander Hill reached on an error before Jacob Bockelie was walked to put runners at first and second. Sanchez brought in Alexander with a double to deep right field before a Hernandez putout at first brought in Bockelie, the score 2-1 at the top of the second.
In the second, Pete Kozma walked and went to second, on an error by the pitcher Lucas on a high pick off throw at first. The Monarchs De La Guerra, who joined the club Sunday, hit an RBI single to right field to tie it back up at 2-2.
In the top of the third, Zach Nehrir walked to start the inning, and Chase Simpson launches one to right field as Nehrir races to third base. Alexander taps one down the third base side for an RBI single as the Railroaders take back the lead, 3-2.
The Monarchs like their bases like they like their plates– loaded. In the bottom of the third, Railroaders starter Lucas faced another bases-loaded scenario as Jan Hernandez had a base hit to right before Willie Abreu and Adams both walked. With a Monarch at every base, Kozma drove a ball to right field for a two RBI single, and Kansas City took back the lead for good at 4-3.
Abreu extended the Monarchs lead in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run home run to the home run patio as Casey Gillaspie makes it to first via a walk, the score 6-3. In his first home game, De La Guerra launches one high up the home run hill for two more runs as Kozma makes it to second base, adding to the Monarchs tally at 8-3. In back-to-back fashion J.C. Escarra sends his own home run to right field, the Monarchs taking a commanding lead, 9-3.
Monarchs hit the double digits in the sixth with a homer to right field from Adams, a ‘Last Man In’ candidate for the All Star Game, making the score 10-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, Jan Hernandez and Gillaspie both get walked before Kevin Santa, who replaced Kozma in the top of the inning, hit an RBI-single to center to bring in Hernandez, making the final score 11-3.
Monarchs starter RHP Matt Hartman went 6.0 IP for 4 H, 3 R and 9 strikeouts and picked up his second straight win and his third straight quality start.
Game two in this four-game series against the Cleburne Railroaders is tomorrow (6/28) 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: Matt Hartman (2-2)
LP: Josh Lucas (1-2)
By: KAITLYN SANDERS