By Corbin Smith, Editorial Assistant

Despite a ninth inning grand slam from Jan Hernandez, the Kansas City Monarchs, formerly the T-Bones, fell to the Sioux City Explorers 11-8 on May 26 at Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park.

The Monarchs (2-5) started the second inning off with two base hits from Ryan Grotjohn and Anibal Sierra via a single to left field and a walk, respectively. With an RBI single to left field, designated hitter Ramsey Romano was able to bring Grotjohn home for a 1-0 lead over the Explorers (6-2).

The third inning followed a similar pattern. After Darnell Sweeney earned a single, he stole second with a chance to score. Hernandez capitalized on the opportunity with a one-out single to left field which allowed Sweeney to dash home to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead.

After two innings of scoreless efforts, the Explorers were itching for some success against Brian Glowicki. Sioux City found that success in the third inning – and a lot of it.

With 11 batters to approach the plate, the Explorers scored five runs off of four hits as Glowicki hit a pitcher and allowed a bases-loaded walk. After three innings, Sioux City led 5-2 and was far from finished scoring.

Four batters into the fourth inning, Wilmer Torres replaced Glowicki who allowed five hits and seven runs, and managed one strikeout in the game.

The Explorers refused to let up on the game’s newest pitcher. Jose Sermo hit a bases-clearing double to left center to bring Lane Milligan and Jared Walker home. Sioux City extended its lead to 7-2 at the end of the fourth. The fifth inning was a draw between the two teams. The top of the inning was highlighted with a home run from Johnny Field to bring himself and Daniel Wasinger, who hit a single two batters earlier, around the diamond and back home. In response, Sioux City scored two runs to tie the inning and make the score 9-4 at the end of the fifth.

The fifth inning would be the last time a Monarch would return to home plate until the final inning of the game. Although he pitched a single inning, Brian Ellington temporarily held off the Explorers in the sixth. Ellington allowed no runs, two hits and recorded two strikeouts before he was replaced by Ramsey Romano in the seventh inning. The opposing dugout took advantage of the substitution and scored two runs in the seventh to increase Sioux City’s lead to 11-4.

With one last chance to claim a miracle, the Monarchs came out swinging in the ninth inning. Wasinger was the first on base via an error by the first baseman. Sweeney was the second on base after being hit by a pitch, pushing Wasinger to second. A single from Field to center field found the bases loaded for Kansas City.

With the bases loaded, it would be difficult for the Monarchs not to score a runner they desperately needed. Hernandez got his teammates back home and thensome. In grand slam fashion, all four Kansas City players circled the diamond and touched home plate. Hopes were on the rise as the scoreboard reflected an 11-8 tally.

Unfortunately for the Monarchs, the crescendo of hope met its abrupt peak. Matt Poberyeko, Sioux City’s closing pitcher, threw the two final strikeouts of the game to put a stop to any chance of a Kansas City comeback. The Monarchs fell to the Explorers 11-8.

Kansas City finishes its series against Sioux City May 27 with hopes of not being swept. The game will be broadcasted on the Monarchs Broadcasting Network with pre-game beginning at 6:40 p.m.

Northeast News will also offer chances for readers to win tickets to home games this season. The Monarchs’ next home game will be against the Cleburne Railroaders at 7 p.m. May 28 at Legends Field.