Sioux Falls Canaries southpaw Jake Zokan (3-1) fanned nine Milwaukee Milkmen over six impressive innings to earn the 5-4 victory for his team Thursday night at the Birdcage in an independent American Association of Professional Baseball AAPB) game.
After Milwaukee (11-12) took an early lead in the top the first, the Canaries (14-9) went to work in the bottom of the frame.
Outfielder Jabari Henry doubled with one out. Next, infielder Alay Lago followed with a walk to put runners on first and second.
Infielder Damek Tomscha followed with a double to plate Henry and advanced runners to second and third. Then, catcher Clint Coulter laced one past a diving Brett Vertigan in the left-center field gap for a two-run triple, pushing the score to 3-1 in favor of the Birds.
The Canaries scored one more in the bottom of the second for a 4-1 advantage. Outfielder Grant Kay led off the inning with a triple and then scored on infielder Ryan Brett’s sacrifice fly to extend the lead to three runs.
Milwaukee cut into the deficit in the top of the fourth. Outfielder Adam Walker doubled with one out. Two batters later, first baseman David Washington switched places with him with a double of his own to drive in Walker and slice the score to 4-2.
The Birds added a key insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Brett led off with a double and scored two batters later on a Henry RBI single, extending the lead to 5-2.
But the Milkmen scored one run in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by Walker, cutting the deficit to 5-3.
That score held until the ninth when shortstop Mason Davis led off with a single. Davis proceeded to go first to third on a Christian Correa knock. Then, outfielder Logan Trowbridge drove in Davis on an RBI groundout.
However, reliever Keaton Steele slammed the door on the Milwaukee rally, recording consecutive outs on a fly-out and a strikeout to end the contest and give the Canaries the 5-4 victory.
Steele earned his tenth save of the season.
The Chicago Dogs come to the Birdcage to face Sioux Falls in the first tilt of the three-game weekend series on Friday July 31 at 7:05 p.m.
The Canaries will induct Trevor Lawhorn into their Canaries Hall of Fame on Friday night along with Lawhorn bobbleheads given out before the game.
— Jerry Del Priore