Henry Homers Twice As Birds Down Saints
By Adam Bertsch
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Another close contest at the Birdcage saw the Sioux Falls Canaries defeat the St. Paul Saints 13-12 on Saturday night.
Sioux Falls scored early and often in the top of the opening inning. Andrew Ely drew a leadoff walk. Jabari Henry followed him with a double to put runners on second and third. Two batters later Damek Tomscha earned an RBI on a groundout. Clint Coulter then crushed a two-run home run to give the Birds the 3-0 lead.
St. Paul cut into their deficit with one run in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Nate Samson to score Mikey Reynolds to make the score 3-1.
The Canaries broke things open in top of the second with four runs in the inning. Andrew Ely reached on a fielder's choice play when the throw came to the plate trying to get Grant Kay. Kay was able to avoid the tag and get a hand on home plate to bring the score to 4-1. Jabari Henry took the very next pitch well out of the Birdcage for a three-run home run extending the lead to 7-1.
The Saints added another run in the bottom of the second after two walks put runners on first and second with one out. John Silviano then hit a ball to Alay Lago at first. Lago went to Ely to get the force at second but the return throw sailed over the glove of the covering Sam Bragg and ended up out of play to allow both runners to take an extra base and score Chris Chinea.
The Birds got another run in the top of the fourth to make things 8-2 on an RBI groundout by Damek Tomscha.
The first of two big innings for St. Paul came in the bottom of the fourth. The Saints used five singles, a double and a fielder's choice to score four runs and cut the deficit to 8-6 and chase Sam Bragg from the game.
Sioux Falls struck back with three runs in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Ely and another home run for Henry. Henry's second home run was a two run shot to extend the lead to 11-6.
Kurt Heyer finished the fourth and allowed just one run through three and two-thirds. The one run came in the bottom of the fifth when Silviano earned an RBI on a groundout to second to make the score 11-7.
Two more runs came across for the Birds in the top of the sixth on a two-run double by Logan Landon to stretch the lead to 13-7.
The bottom of the eighth brought another four runs across for the Saints. Silviano hit a two-run home run, Samson drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, and Reynolds scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit back down to 13-11.
Keaton Steele came on to try and earn the save in the bottom of the ninth. He allowed one run that cut the lead to 13-12 but Steele got Reynolds to fly out to end the game.
Sioux Falls and St. Paul play in the rubber game of the three game set on Sunday, July 26. Ty Culbreth will be on the mound for the Birds with Eddie Medina taking the ball for the Saints. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.