Canaries Take Series Opener vs. Amarillo to Win Third Straight
By Tony Cola
The Sioux Falls Canaries carried the momentum from a Sunday doubleheader to squeeze a 3-2 victory past the Amarillo Sox Tuesday night at the Birdcage. Canaries starting pitcher Matt Wickswat (1-1) held down the fort on the pitching mound to keep his team in the close game, allowing only two earned runs on five hits through six innings while walking four.
“He (Wickswat) battled his butt off for six innings for us,” said manager Steve Shirley. “He gave us a start where it gives you a chance to win the game.”
Amarillo grabbed the first lead of the game with a single from Kyle Nichols that made it 1-0 early. Canaries first baseman AJ Kirby-Jones made sure that lead was short-lived, as he banged an opposite field homerun past the right field fence in the home half of the fourth.
The Sox responded one more time in the top of the fifth with a single from Kevin Mahoney that gave Amarillo the lead back at 2-1, but the one-run cushion would not make it past the bottom of the fifth. Extra-base hits from Chris Duffy and Canaries newcomer Sam Lind pushed Sioux Falls to a 3-2 lead and provided the home crowd assurance that they would go home happy. It was only the second game of the season in a Canaries uniform for Lind, who is a Hartford, S.D. native and played in college for the Vanderbilt Commodores before going to Cumberland University and winning the 2014 NAIA World Series.
“The guy played some great baseball in college,” said Shirley. “I’m not going to look past someone’s accomplishments in college. He’s built well and he’s very athletic.”
Canaries relief pitcher Joe Testa held the lead in the seventh inning by working out of a bases loaded jam, with closer Alan DeRatt going the distance in the ninth to guarantee his sixth save of the season.
“We’re playing good baseball right now, but it’s about winning tomorrow’s game,” said Shirley.
The Canaries will return to the Birdcage tomorrow afternoon to face Amarillo in the second game of their three-game series. It’s Discovery Learning Center Day Care Day, and there will be cartoon trivia through the game.