In a high stakes game for the Kansas City Monarchs (64-35) and the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (64-35), they both came to Legends Field ready to fulfill their postseason dreams as both team’s standings depended on the outcome of Sunday’s game. With Matt Hartman starting on the mound for the Monarchs and Tyler Grauer for the RedHawks, the Monarchs showed their hunger for another crown as they kept Fargo-Moorhead from clinching the division title, ending the game tied for first place in the division, winning the game 12-3.
A walk for Dylan Harris got the offense off to a start in the third inning. Mallex Smith followed with a single, adding to the offensive momentum. After a wild pitch got away from catcher Christian Correa, Dylan Harris and Mallex Smith moved to second and third, and fans were feeling the energy. Darnell Sweeney then walked, loading the bases as Ryan Grotjohn stepped up and knocked a triple that wiped the bases clean, putting the Monarchs on top 3-0. After a sac fly from Jacob Robson, Grotjohn raced home, and the Monarchs ended the inning with a commanding lead, 4-0.
The fifth inning once again saw the Monarchs’ offense take a bite out of the RedHawks. Mallex Smith started off with a double off Home Run Patio wall. Darnell Sweeney followed with a single and quickly advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ryan Grotjohn stepped up and cranked another bit hit—a double—that scored both Mallex Smith and Darnell Sweeney. After a walk for Jacob Robson, Jan Hernandez crushed a home run over Home Run Patio, scoring Ryan Grotjohn, Jacob Robson and Jan Hernandez, giving the Monarchs a monstrous lead, 9-0, and highlighting the grit of a Monarchs team hungry for a division title.
Fargo decided not to give the Monarchs the shut out they hoped for as Novak hit a solo home run off Jeremy Rhoades who came in after a quality start for pitcher Matt Hartman who had eight strikeouts before he left the mound, but the Monarchs defense kept the RedHawks from further damage, heading into the seventh inning stretch with a 9-1 lead.
In the home half of the seventh, Jacob Robson started off with a walk off Alec Olund, followed by another for Jan Hernandez. Casey Gillaspie got a single that loaded the bases. J.C. Escarra followed with a base hit that scored Jacob Robson. A sac fly by Pete Kozma scored Jan Hernandez, and the Monarchs closed out the inning up 11-1 over the “Fargos”.
Ryan Grotjohn started the inning with a walk off Evan Alexander, followed by a single from Jacob Robson. Jan Hernandez followed with another walk, loading the bases for Casey Gillaspie who also walked, scoring Ryan Grotjohn and increasing the Monarchs lead, 12-1.
Frank Rubio came in to close the game in the top of the ninth, and the “Fargos” would not go gentle into that good night. Alec Olund started off with a base hit, followed by Evan Alexander who advanced to first on a fielder’s choice. Nick Novak got a base hit off a ball that got passed Darnell Sweeney at third base, loading the bases. Ben Livorsi then got a base hit scoring both Alec Olund and Evan Alexander, making the score 12-3. But Frank Rubio and the Monarchs defense kept the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks from clinching the division title, tying them for first place. The pivotal game starting tomorrow at 1:00pm.
The Monarchs will play the final game of this four-game series against Fargo-Moorhead tomorrow (9/5) at 1:00 p.m. The final game of this series will determine the winner of the division and what team the Monarchs will face in round one of the playoffs. The division-deciding game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 12:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on aa baseball.tv.
Tickets to all Monarchs playoff 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 monarchs baseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.
WP: Matt Hartman
LP: Tyler Grauer
BY: GMW Vaughan