(July 31)-Stingers defeat the Honkers in extras, 5-4, in error-filled contest in Willmar
Eight combined errors between the Honkes and Stingers contribute to sloppy loss for Rochester
(Rochester, Minn.)– A sloppy contest between two contending teams in the North Division, the Honkers and the Stingers, required some late heroics in order to be decided. The Honkers lost the game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off single, sending the Honkers to their 13th loss this season.
The Honkers sent their best to the mound in Matt Kent (Texas A&M) to try and edge a little closer in the race for first place in the division. While Kent wasn’t as sharp as Honkers fans are typically used to seeing, Kent kept the Stingers off the scoreboard until the fifth inning. After Connor Schaefbauer (Minnesota) left the game with an apparent lower-body injury, the Honkers’ defensive positioning drastically changed – featuring players unused to playing their new positions.
It would cost the Honkers in the fifth inning, too. An error from Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) playing second base scored the Stingers’ first run of the game. In the sixth, an error from the new third baseman Tanner Buenting (Iowa Central Community College) scored two more runs for Willmar, cutting the Honkers’ lead to 4-3.
Opposite Kent, A.J. Puckett (Pepperdine) had some bad luck against the Honkers. In the third inning, the Honkers scored two unearned runs on back-to-back two-out singles from Alex Schultz (Nebraska Omaha) and Corey Hassel.
In the fourth, Reid Roper (Illinois) hit his fifth home run of the summer to give the Honkers a three-run lead at the time and in the sixth he added a run-scoring sacrifice fly to boost the Honkers to a 4-1 lead, temporarily.
Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) attempted to pitch the final two-plus innings to earn the save and lock down the win for the Honkers. But after a scoreless seventh and eighth, Campbell surrendered a lead-off double to Max Stubbs (Northern State). A sacrifice bunt moved Stubbs to third and Campbell proceeded to throw a wild pitch that allowed Stubbs to score the tying run and the teams would need extra innings to decide Thursday’s game.
Honkers’ lefty Levi Lochner (Rochester Community and Technical College) started the bottom of the 10th inning and got himself into trouble early. The Stingers loaded the bases with just one out and Frankie Rios (Southern California) at the plate. Rios grounded a ball up the middle to score the game-winning run and the Stingers walked-off and win to complete the comeback against the Honkers, 5-4.
Tomorrow, the Honkers will have a shot at a little revenge against the Stingers at 7:05 p.m. in Willmar. Rochester will send Ryan Bower (Allan Hancock College) to the mound in search of his first win this summer. The Honkers are home next on Saturday when they host the Border Cats at 5:05 p.m. Ticket information can be found at rochesterhonkers.com.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com.