ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It took 14 innings, and almost five hours, but the St. Paul Saints defeated the Sioux City Explorers 5-4 on a walk-off home run by Kes Carter. It was the second home run of the game for the Saints.
After allowing a two-out single in the top of the first inning, the Saints came up to the plate in the bottom of the inning and put up the first runs of the game. The inning started when Carter singled to right-center field. That kicked off a string of three-straight hits, including a RBI double from Anthony Gallas that made it a 1-0 game. Nate Hanson followed with a RBI groundout to put the Saints up 2-0. After Mitch Delfino drew a walk, Maxx Garrett struck out to end the scoring chance.
Sioux City had a scoring chance of their own in the fourth inning when they had two runners on with one out, but Michael Lang grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning with no runs on the board for the Explorers.
They made up for it in the fifth, when they sent all nine guys to the plate and came out of it with a 3-0 lead. It started with a one-out double from Jonathan Gonzalez, and after three more hits and two walks, it was a 3-2 lead for the Explorers.
The Saints retook the lead in the seventh inning when Jon Kristoffersen led off with a walk, and later scored when Shoemaker jacked his 16th home run of the season to give the Saints a 4-3 lead, though it did not last long, as, in the top of the next inning, Levon Washington tied it with a home run of his own.
It was a tie game heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Saints nearly ended the game. After Colwell grounded out to start the inning, Carter singled to left field, which was followed a couple batters later by an intentional walk to Gallas. The risk paid off for the Explorers, as Hanson flew out to right field to end the inning and send the game into extra innings.
Neither team was able to get a base runner in the 10th inning, and the Explorers were set down in order in the top of the 11th, but in the bottom of the inning, the Saints got a one-out single from Colwell, which kept his hitting streak alive. After Carter struck out, the Explorers issued their second intentional pass of the night, this one to Shoemaker.
That brought up Gallas, who hit a 2-2 pitch high into the air, but it settled harmlessly into the glove of Tony Campana for the final out of the inning.
The Saints had another very close chance to win it in the bottom of the 12th inning when Hanson was on third base with one out, Garrett hit a fly ball to left field for the second out of the inning, and Hanson tagged and attempted to score, but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The game finally came to an end in the bottom of the 14th inning when Carter led off with a walk-off home run to right-center field to give the Saints a 5-4 victory. Game two of the series is Thursday night. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
- This series is an interesting one for both teams, as they will play game two on Thursday night at CHS Field before taking the final two games of the series to Sioux City. The reason for the mid-series venue change is because the Minnesota American Legion Baseball State Tournament is being held at CHS Field this weekend.
- Prior to the game, teams that are participating in the tournament were invited onto the field and honored. The tournament begins on Thursday with opening ceremonies, with games beginning on Friday.
- The Explorers will be busy over the next week, as after the series ends on Saturday, they travel to Sioux Falls for a doubleheader with the Canaries, before returning to Sioux City for a home game against Winnipeg on Monday, followed by a doubleheader with the Goldeyes on Tuesday.