Birds Power Their Way To An Opening-Night Win
Sioux Falls Canaries fans packed the Birdcage for Opening Night on Friday, and the Birds offense gave them what they wanted.
The Canaries hit three home runs, scored seven runs in the fifth inning, and coasted to a 9-5 win over the Chicago Dogs in their season opener. The performance deprived the dogs of a win in their first game as a franchise.
Despite the lopsided final score, the Birds trailed for much of the game, starting when Dogs designated hitter Craig Maddox singled in a run in the top of the first.
The Birds bounced back in the bottom of the inning, when leadoff hitter Ty Morrison hit a solo home run to tie the game up at 1.
Chicago responded with another RBI single in the second, adding another run in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead.
The bottom of the fifth is where the game turned. After a walk and a single forced Dogs starter Josh Goossen-Brown out of the game, Burt Reynolds gave the Canaries the lead with a three-run home run to right off Tyson Perez. The shot gave the Birds a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The fifth was far from over. The Birds added four more runs, highlighted by run-scoring singles from Aaron Gretz and Dan Motl. Sioux Falls plated seven runs in the inning, sending 12 players to the plate. The inning turned a 3-1 deficit into a 8-3 lead.
From there, the Canaries kept Chicago at arm's length. Jabari Henry, fresh off a club record-tying 29 home runs last year, got his first homer of the season in the sixth.
The Dogs added a run in the eighth on a ground ball, and a Kyle Gaedele solo home run made it 9-5 Birds in the ninth. But it wasn't enough for Chicago, as Trevor Jaunich retired the next three batters to end the game.
Canaries starter Grady Wood was on-and-off on the mound Friday, but grinded through five innings of work. He allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits, walking two and striking out seven. Canaries manager Mike Meyer pulled Wood from the game after the Birds' big fifth inning.
The Canaries and Dogs meet again tomorrow night for the second game of their series. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Fans can get tickets at the Sioux Falls Stadium box office or by calling 336-6060.