Canaries Conclude Home Season with 5-4 Win Over Saltdogs
By Tony Cola
Sioux Falls, SD-- The Sioux Falls Canaries wrapped up their 2014 home schedule on a happy note Thursday night, overcoming a 4-1 deficit en route to a 5-4 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs at the Birdcage. Canaries starting pitcher and local product Kye Winter allowed four earned runs in six full innings for Sioux Falls, while a three-run triple from Ty Forney in the sixth gave the Birds the boost they would need to finish their home season in style.
“There are a lot of good things that happened tonight,” said manager Steve Shirley. “We got a good start out of Kye and a big hit out of (Ty) Forney. To be able to see those guys do some really strong things at the end of the season is very uplifting.”
For the second straight night the Saltdogs wasted no time hopping on the Birds, getting a pair of runs on Winter in the top of the first inning to open the game. Lincoln right fielder Brian Joynt initiated the scoring with an RBI single up the middle, followed the very next at-bat by a run-scoring single to left from Jeremy Hamilton that doubled the lead to 2-0. The Birds didn’t wait long to provide their response, slicing the lead in half the very next half-inning off a two-out Carlos Mendez RBI double that plated Steve Tinoco.
Lincoln buffed their lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run to left field from Luis Nunez and added to it three at-bats later when Joynt doubled in Ian Gac. The Saltdog lead would not last much longer, as an RBI infield single from shortstop Stephen Branca kicked off a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. Forney’s bases-clearing triple two at-bats later powered the Birds to a 5-4 lead and threw the momentum in favor of Sioux Falls for good.
A slight rain delay in the top of the eighth inning sent both clubs off the field briefly, though it would not derail the Canary fans’ hopes for a successful home finale.
“We have the best fans in the league in my opinion,” said Shirley. “These people come out and root for us the whole night. It’s wonderful for me and for the players to play in front of crowds like that.”
Sioux Falls closer Alan DeRatt shut the door on the Saltdogs in the top of the ninth to seal the victory and his 14th save of the season. The Birds also received two stellar innings of relief from reliever Joe Testa, who permitted two hits while whiffing two Lincoln batters. Following the win the Birds will hit the road to Fargo to face the RedHawks in a four-game series, starting with a game tomorrow night at 7:02 pm.