Honkers Rally, but Fall Short in Season Finale
(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (14-20 Second Half, 30-39 Overall) lost the season finale to the Mankato MoonDogs (24-12, 44-28) by a score of 5-4 on Sunday afternoon at Mayo Field. The Honkers nearly overcame an initial 3-0 deficit, pulling within a run in the bottom of the ninth inning on a home run by Weston Hatten (Nevada). Hatten went two-for-five in the game with two runs scored. The MoonDogs stole six bases in the game and were thrown out once.
Mankato scored three runs on five hits in the top of the second inning. With two runners on base, Ethan Valdez (Nicholls State) singled to left field, scoring Ryan Kreidler (UCLA) from third base. Jake Oretega (CSU Bakersfield) followed with a two-RBI single on a line drive that tipped off the glove of Honkers first baseman Zach Zubia (Texas).
Griffin Neuer (Bellarmine) walked with two outs in the bottom of the third inning. He moved to third base on single to center field by Zubia and scored in the next at-bat on a wild pitch, cutting the lead to 3-1.
The MoonDogs responded with a run in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single to left field by Daniel Amaral (UCLA), which scored Valdez from third base.
Trailing 5-1, the first three Honker batters in the bottom of the eighth inning reached on hits, including an RBI single by Neuer that brought in Weston Hatten (Nevada) to score from second base. With the bases loaded and one out, David Noworyta (Hawaii) singled to right field, which scored Neuer and pulled the Honkers within two runs for the second time in the game.
The Honkers made a final push in the bottom of the ninth inning. Hatten hit a solo home run to the left field corner with one out, his fourth home run of the season. After a pop out, Zubia nearly hit his 23rd home run, but the fly ball was caught in right-center field for the final out of the game.
Nicholas Belzer (St. Thomas) earned the win (6-1) for the MoonDogs. He pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up one run on five hits while striking out one batter and walking two.
Manny Armendariz (Doane) took the loss (4-3) for the Honkers. He pitched six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits while striking out five batters and walking one.
Today concludes the 2017 season for the Rochester Honkers. Thank you to all the fans, host families, and sponsors who helped make this season a success.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 180 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Honkers as your favorite team.