St. Paul, MN- The X’s were hoping that they could create some magic heading into game three of the American Association Finals and to force a game four to keep their season and championship hopes alive. But it was the team of destiny, the 2019 St. Paul Saints who once again put together a dramatic win 6-3, to end their magical championship run to earn the 2019 American Association Championship.
Sioux City got off to the quick start in the game as Drew Stankiewicz walked and Nate Samson reached on an error to set up Jeremy Hazelbaker who crushed a three run home run over the right field fence and the blast stunned and quieted a raucous crowd at CHS Field.
Unfortunately for the X’s that would be the only offense they could muster up on the night. They would not have another runner reach third base in the contest. The X’s would score three runs in the ball game which tied the most they had ever scored in a single game against the St. Paul Saints during the 2019 season.
Saints starter Ryan Zimmerman took home the no decision as he tossed five innings, allowing three runs, two earned on just three hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
On the other end was Taylor Jordan for Sioux City. Jordan was once again excellent for the Explorers in his second post season start. He allowed just one run through the first five innings of work on a solo home run to Chris Baker which made it a 3-1 Explorers lead.
In the sixth inning St. Paul made their comeback as they did in almost every game during their post season run. It would begin on back to back singles by Brady Shoemaker and John Silviano. A walk to Josh Allen would load the bases with one out and the Explorers would then turn to Nate Gercken out of the bullpen. Chesny Young then came up with the hit that will forever go down in Saints history as he took the first pitch from Gercken and blasted it to left center field for a grand slam making it 5-3 Saints in one swing of the bat.
Jordan (0-1) ended up with the loss as he went five and a third allowing four runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and a walk.
St. Paul tacked on another run in the seventh as with two outs John Silviano smacked a double down the right field line to score Michael Lang from first base putting St. Paul up 6-3.
The Saints bullpen between Jordan Jess, Karch Kowalczyk and Tanner Kiest combined to shut out the Explorers over the final four innings of the game with Kiest earning his fourth save of the post season with a scoreless ninth inning getting Kyle Wren to ground into the series ending double play.
With the loss the Explorers season comes to an end. Sioux City finished the season 57-43 earning the South Division Wild Card, they defeated the Kansas City T-Bones in four games to claim the South Division Series Championship but they ran into the white hot St. Paul Saints who lost their first two games of the playoffs before rattling off six straight wins to take the crown.
The Explorers will have to try and win their first championship in franchise history in the 2020 season, which would be the franchise’s 28th year of existence.