Canaries Lose Heartbreaker To Fargo To Open Series

Posted: 5/28/2018

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Photo courtesy Ry Tupper Photography

The Sioux Falls Canaries dropped their first game in Fargo in a in walk-off fashion on Monday, losing to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 3-2.

Brennan Metzger sealed the win for Fargo-Moorhead with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth off of Birds right-hander Kyle Schepel. The win moved Fargo to 6-4, and dropped Sioux Falls to 3-7.

The first three innings of the game were scoreless, the first time in the Canaries' season that neither team has scored that deep into the game.

The RedHawks got on the board first in the fourth inning. Randolph Oduber reached on a bunt single to lead off the frame, moving to third on a Charlie Valerio single.

The next batter, Leobaldo Pina, hit into a 5-4-3 double play, allowing Oduber to score and giving Fargo-Moorhead a 1-0 lead.

The Birds's bats responded right away in the fifth, loading the bases for Chris Grayson. Grayson, playing his former team after being traded from Fargo-Moorhead to Sioux Falls in the offseason, hit an RBI single to tie the game at 1.

Canaries first baseman Chris Jacobs followed Grayson up with an RBI single of his own. Both singles were hit hard enough that only one run scored on each, putting the Birds up 2-1.

That prompted Fargo-Moorhead manager Michael Schlact to pull starter Sebastian Kessay. Kessay gave up two runs on seven hits in his 4.1 innings of work, walking two and striking out four.

Travis Ballew replaced Kessay, striking out Patrick Fiala and Burt Reynolds with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning.

Fargo-Moorhead tied the game in the sixth, in an inning that looked much like the fourth. Oduber walked to lead things off, moved to third on a Valerio single, and came in to score on a 6-4-3 double play of the bat of Pina.

A two-out single by Derrick Fox and a walk to Maikol Gonzalez chased Canaries starter Grady Wood from the game. Wood, still dealing with a minor wrist injury, gave up two runs in 5.2 innings of work on six hits. He walked five batters in the contest, the most walks Wood has allowed since June 17, 2017.

Cesilio Pimentel took the reins from Wood, and was brilliant out of the bullpen for the Birds. After striking out Devin Ahart to end the threat in the sixth, Pimentel worked 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth.

Both teams' bats went silent after the game was tied. Sioux Falls and Fargo-Moorhead combined for one baserunner from the top of the seventh to the bottom of the ninth.

That ended when Gonzalez worked a leadoff walk off of Kyle Schepel to put the winning run aboard in the bottom of the ninth. A single from Ahart moved Gonzalez to second.

That brought up Brennan Metzger, who looped a check-swing single into shallow right field, scoring Gonzalez and giving the RedHawks a 3-2 win.

Game two of the series between the Dakota rivals is set for Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Joe Bircher will take the mound for the Canaries; Fargo-Moorhead's starter has not yet been released. Birds fans can tune in on 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN, or online at KWSN.com.