Chicago 6, Kane County 4 – Box Score
The Chicago Dogs opened the 2021 season with a 6-4 win against the Kane County Cougars thanks to a late offensive surge.
Chicago opened the scoring in the top of the second inning as C Ryan Lidge (4-for-4) scored when CF Michael Crouse singled but the Cougars tied things back up in the fifth as DH Mitch Reeves (3-for-4) hit an RBI single to center. The Cougars moved in front in the next inning as SS Galli Cribbs Jr was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and, later in the frame, Reeves lifted a sac fly to plate LF Mark Karaviotis.
The Dogs came roaring back in the top of the eighth as SS Harrison Smith doubled home 3B Johnny Adams and Lidge and, after Crouse was intentionally walked, LF Brennan Metzger hit a sac fly to left that scored 2B Grant Kay, giving Chicago the lead back. In the ninth, Adams added a two-run homer for the Dogs to take a 6-3 lead.
In the bottom half, Reeves scored for the Cougars when 2B Josh Allen reached on an error but the game ended on a ground out in the next at-bat.
Cleburne 4, Fargo-Moorhead 3 – Box Score
The Cleburne Railroaders held off the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 4-3 on opening night at The Depot to start the season off with a win.
The Railroaders claimed the early lead after LF Ramon Hernandez tripled in the bottom of the first inning to allow 2B Alay Lago (2-for-4) to score. 1B Grant Buck doubled the lead for Cleburne in the fourth with a solo home run but the RedHawks responded in the sixth with a solo shot from SS Sam Dexter (2-for-4) and then tied the score in the eighth when CF/PR Nick Shumpert scored on a sac fly from LF Jordan George.
In the bottom of the eighth, SS Osvaldo Martinez singled home RF Hunter Clanin and, in the next at-bat, Lago reached on an error and that allowed CF Noah Vaughan to score. Fargo-Moorhead drew within one in the ninth as 3B Leobaldo Pina (2-for-4) scored on a C Dylan Kelly (2-for-4) single and the RedHawks had the winning run on first base before a fly out to left ended the game.
Cleburne reliever Kyle Chavez threw just two pitches, both strikes, to record the final out of the eighth and earn the win.
Lincoln 7, Kansas City 5 – Box Score
The Lincoln Saltdogs took an early lead and never trailed on the way to a 7-5 win against the Kansas City Monarchs, despite a late push from the home team.
In the top of the first, a DH Curt Smith sac fly plated LF Justin Byrd, 2B Josh Altmann doubled home CF Forrestt Allday (3-for-4) and RF Edgar Corcino scored when 1B David Vidal bounced out. 3B Ryan Long doubled that lead with one swing of the bat as he hit a three-run home run in the top of the sixth.
For Kansas City in the seventh, RF Gabriel Guerrero (3-for-4) hit a lead-off home run and, after 2B Darnell Sweeney scored on a DH Jan Hernandez single in the eighth, Guerrero hit a three-run shot to pull the Monarchs within one. But Allday doubled home Byrd in the ninth for an insurance run and the Monarchs went down in order in the bottom half to close out the season opener.
Lincoln closer James Pugliese earned his first save of the year with a pair a strikeouts and starter Kyle Kinman picked up the win with 8 Ks in five innings of work.
Milwaukee 10, Gary SouthShore 2 – Box Score
The 2020 Champions Milwaukee Milkmen opened their title defense with an emphatic 10-2 win against the Gary SouthShore RailCats.
Seven different Milkmen recorded at least one hit in the game and 2B Aaron Hill had a pair of home runs; a three-run shot in the second and a two-run homer in the fourth. The offensive outing for Hill nearly doubled his career home run tally as he had three in his rookie season last year with Milwaukee. 3B Logan Trowbridge also had a pair of hits for the Milkmen as he doubled and hit a solo home run in the eighth to cap the scoring for the night.
1B David Washington chipped in a pair of RBIs with a two-run double in the top of the first inning.
Starting pitcher David Holmberg earned the win as he went six innings and allowed two runs on four hits while striking out five batters. Both RailCats’ runs came in the bottom of the sixth as DH Vaibhav Desai tripled home RF Zach Welz and scored when 1B Ben Andrews bounced out to second.
Winnipeg 9, Sioux Falls 0 – Box Score
The Winnipeg Goldeyes opened the 2021 campaign with a 9-0 shutout of the Sioux Falls Canaries.
Starting pitcher Eduard Reyes was tabbed as the winner as he tossed five innings and gave up just three hits while striking out three batters. Relievers Cory Thompson and Ken Frosch also struck out three batters and reliever Nate Antone struck out one more in the ninth to bring the Goldeyes’ total to 10 for the night.
Offensively for the Goldeyes, CF Jay Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with a double and 1B Kyle Martin and 3B Dakota Conners each went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Martin added a pair of RBIs, including a lead-off homer in the fifth.
For the Canaries, both LF Troy Alexander and C Charlie Valerio had a pair of hits.
Sioux City 6, Houston 1 – Box Score
The Sioux City Explorers rode a five-run third inning to a 6-1 Opening Day win against the Houston Apollos.
The Explorers took the lead in the bottom of the second inning when 1B Jared Walker scored on a single from 2B Chris Clare. In the third, SS Nate Samson singled home CF Chase Harris and then scored when DH Sebastian Zawada singled to left two batters later. Walker belted his first home run of the season in the next at-bat, plating both 3B Jose Sermo and Zawada to give the Explorers a commanding 6-0 lead.
The Apollos first run in the American Association came in the eighth when CF Nick Anderson doubled to score C Hudson Bilodeau. RF Daniel Aldrich added a pair of hits for Houston in the season opener.
Sioux City starter Zach Hedges picked up his first win of 2021 as he went six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits and one walk.