Minor League lineup card had a question mark next to the starting pitcher. The answer was a 44-year-old lawmaker

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The Sioux City Explorers were in need of pitching after using ten arms in just two games, prompting manager Steve Montgomery to make a call to the bullpen like no other.

He dialed up Iowa State Representative J.D. Scholten for an emergency start.

"They sent me the lineup card, it had all the players' names on there, and then it had a question mark on there where the pitcher's name would be," Dan Vaughan, the Explorers' director of broadcasting and media, said. "A big question mark and you're like, 'Who is it going to be?' It was a big question mark. I've never seen a lineup card in all the years I've done this that had a question mark. That was the official lineup … two hours before game time."

The answer to the question was 7.8 miles away at Grandview Park, volunteering at the annual Saturday in the Park music festival.

"I called him and I said, 'I need you,'" Montgomery explained. "He's like, 'I don't know if I can,' and I said, 'Look, I don't care what you give me. I just need someone to go in there and throw strikes.' He said, 'I think I can do that, but I've got to have someone pick up my shift.' He called me back ten minutes later and said he's in."

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Scholten, who had previously played for the Explorers, said he initially thought the call was a joke.

"I saw I had like ten missed calls and Montgomery texting me saying 'Call me, ASAP,'" Scholten said. "That turned into, less than three hours later, getting the starting nod and pitching. I wasn't at top shape, but I said [it's] now or never, and when they needed me I said I'll give it my best. I don't know what I've got, but I'll give it my best."

Arriving less than two hours before game time, the former University of Nebraska player put on the Explorers uniform for the first time since 2007 and felt what it was like to be in a place he once called home.

"Walking through the tunnel again, I didn't realize how much that made me start getting nervous," Scholten said. "But once you get on the mound, it's 60 feet 6 inches. After the first inning, I was able to relax a lot more and luckily the boys got me some runs and I was able to get some innings because they were stretched thin a little bit in the bullpen."

Scholten went on to throw 6.2 innings, surrendering just a pair of runs. A quality start was sealed with a standing ovation from the Explorers crowd in the team's 11-2 win.

"I've done just over 1,000 games in this league, and there's never been a story like this that I've ever seen," Vaughan said. "With all the storylines in there, you've got a representative, he's 44, he's pitching in a local league, and basically off the street. All those storylines, and to have him come in and do that, I've never seen that. That's a first, and it's the stuff of lore for sure."

Scholten will start for the Explorers again on Thursday when they face the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Newman Outdoor Field.

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