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.