Honkers Fall Short in Home Run Derby
Rochester, MN – The Rochester Honkers excited the 1,373 fans who attended the Friday, July 12, game with back-to-back home runs, but it was too little, too late as the La Crosse Loggers raced out to an 11-1 lead and eventually won 11-8.
From the beginning of the game, Honkers’ starting pitcher Mike Lopez just didn’t have his best stuff and the Loggers took full advantage. Ryan Holgate hit an RBI single and Tony Bullard smashed a two-run home run to give La Crosse a 3-0 after just four batters had come to the plate. They added another run when Cole Elvis hit an RBI single later in the inning to give the Loggers a 4-0 lead before Rochester even got a chance to bat.
Rochester had a good chance to score multiple runs in the bottom half of the first inning when Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) draw a walk, stole second base, and advanced to third base on an error. Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State) and Ryan Wrobleski (Dallas Baptist) also drew walks to load the bases. The Flock got their first run when Nathan Webb (California-Riverside) hit an RBI groundout, but that was the only run they could manage.
It’s just too bad that La Crosse wasn’t done scoring. They scored five runs in the top of the second inning. It began when Holgate hit an RBI single, right after that Bullard hit an RBI sac-fly, and later Hunter Watson laced a three-run homer to give the Loggers a 9-1 lead after just two innings.
After two quiet innings for Rochester, La Crosse added two runs in the top of the fourth inning when JT Schwartz crushed a two-run home run over the right field fence to give La Crosse a massive 11-1 lead.
The Flock inched closer in the bottom of the fourth inning when AJ Miller hit an RBI single and Peterson drew a bases-loaded walk to make the score 11-3.
After the fourth inning, the scoring came to an abrupt halt for the Loggers. Casey Nimmo (San Diego Mesa) and Anthony Rodriguez (Monroe College) combined to give up just two hits in five scoreless innings.
Rochester came storming back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Zack Zalesky (Oregon State) got the offensive momentum going with a single, then Ryan Ober (Oregon State) hit a single, and Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) drew a walk to load the bases. AJ Miller (Oregon) came to the plate with the Honkers down by 8 runs and he quickly cut that lead in half with a grand slam that hit the Riverwalk Apartments building beyond the right field fence.
La Crosse then brought in a new pitcher, Andrew Zimmerman, but the result didn’t change as Rochester’s next batter, Andy Armstrong (Oregon State), hit a solo home run to bring the Flock within three runs, 11-8. Unfortunately, Zimmerman settled down and got the last two outs to prevent any more runs that inning.
From then on, the Loggers’ relievers followed in the Honker’s relievers footsteps by giving up just two hits in the last four innings to make 11-8 the final score.
The loss drops Rochester’s second half record to 6-5 and their overall record falls to 24-22.
AJ Miller was honored as the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for going 3-4 with the grand slam and 5 RBI.
The Honkers host the Willmar Stingers for two games beginning Saturday, July 13, at 6:05 p.m. The series finale is Sunday, July 14, at 1:05 p.m. After that, most of the Flock will enjoy a few days off, while Ryan Middendorf, Keon Taylor, Evan Berkey, Tristan Peterson, and Ryan Wrobleski will represent the Honkers at the 2019 All-Star Game in Waterloo, Iowa.
Season tickets and new all-you-can-eat ticket packages are available for purchase right now at www.RochesterHonkers.com or by calling the Honkers front office at 507-289-1170.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th season, the Northwoods 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). 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.