SIOUX CITY, IOWA – The Kansas City Monarchs set the tone in game three early on with a six run top of the first inning as they finished off a three game sweep of the Explorers, 14-2 in game three of the South Division Championship Series.
The Explorers turned to newcomer Jairo Labourt (0-1) who was making his unusual X’s debut in the elimination game. Unfortunately having not pitched not just this season, but since 2018, Labourt was rusty. He walked three batters and plunked two to allow a pair of runs to cross in the top of the first and a Paulo Orlando base hit that played two more knocked him out of the ballgame. Alexis Olmeda added a two run double to cap off Kansas City’s six run opening frame.
Labourt was handed the loss as he collected only two outs, allowing six runs to score on just one hit but walked three and hit two. He threw only seven of his twenty-seven pitches in the start for strikes.
Kansas City continued the offensive onslaught in the third inning. Collecting seven hits and scoring six times to take a commanding 12-0 lead. The seven hits surrendered in the half inning were the most Sioux City allowed all season long.
After clubbing homers and doubles off the X’s in games one and two Kansas City’s approach changed but was no less lethal. After swatting a combined six homers and five doubles in the first two games of the series the Monarchs pounded out 14 hits but this time with twelve singles, one homer and one double.
Sioux City would plate a run in the fourth and fifth innings on Sebastian Zawada and Jose Sermo RBI singles.
The X’s offense was once again stymied by Just Donatella (1-0) who was awarded the win after his six innings of two run ball on six hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
A lone bright spot for the X’s was rookie reliever Jonah Smith who threw four innings of scoreless relief with five strikeouts.
Darnell Sweeney finished off the night with an eighth inning two run home run giving the game its final total of 14-2.
With the win Kansas City advances to the American Association Finals where they await the winner of the North Division Championship Series between the Chicago Dogs and the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
With the loss the Sioux City Explorers 2021 season has come to an end. The team went 53-46 in the regular season and made it to the postseason for a ninth time in franchise history, a fifth time under manager Steve Montgomery and for a third consecutive season.