Explosive Third Inning Lifts Honkers to Series Sweep
Rochester, MN – When your pitchers only give up three runs and your offense has double-digit hits, good things tend to happen and that held true on Sunday, July 14, when the Honkers beat the Willmar Stingers 10-3 in front of 1,408 fans
The game got off to a great start for Rochester when starting pitcher Ryan Dorney (Saint Martin’s) struck out each of Willmar’s first three batters.
Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) lead-off with a walk and advanced to third base on a Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) single, but Stingers’ pitcher Christopher Peres bounced back by getting the last couple outs to keep the game scoreless.
Unfortunately, Willmar didn’t allow that 0-0 score to last much longer as they scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning when Dorney threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded. After a walk loaded the bases again, the Stingers scored again on a fielder’s choice to take a 2-0 lead.
They added to that lead in the top of the third when Brendan Boissiere singled and advanced to third base on a single by Justin King. He then scored on a sacrifice-fly to give Willmar a 3-0 lead. Thankfully, Dorney got his fifth strikeout to prevent any more runs.
Rochester got its offense going when McMahan hit a double to left-center field. Andy Armstrong (Oregon State) came up to bat and he quickly got the Flock back in the game by smashing a 367-foot two-run homer.
With the score now at 3-2, the Honkers’ offensive momentum kept going. Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State) hit a single, Nathan Webb (California-Riverside) drew a walk, and Zack Zalesky (Oregon State) hit a single to load the bases. Logan Denholm (California-Davis) then tied the game with a sacrifice-fly to left field.
Even with two outs in the inning, Rochester’s offense still wasn’t done scoring in the third inning. Ryan Ober (Oregon State) drew a walk to re-load the bases and Aaron Simmons (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) had a long at-bat against Peres, but finally got a two-run single to make the score 5-3.
The Stingers brought in a new pitcher, Luke DeGrammont, but despite the fresh arm Berkey hit an RBI single to give the Flock a six-run third inning. After that, DeGrammont finally ended the inning for Willmar.
After a quiet top of the fourth inning for the Stingers, the Flock added to their lead in the bottom half of the inning. They loaded the bases after a single by Armstrong, a Peterson single, and a Webb walk. Then, Zalesky made the score 8-3 when he hit a two-run single. Now with runners on the corners and no outs, Denholm hit an RBI double-play to give Rochester a 9-3 lead.
Boissiere got a double in the top of the fifth for the Stingers, but Dorney got two more strikeouts to prevent him from scoring. Dorney finished his day’s work with seven strikeouts and three earned runs in five innings.
Casey Nimmo (San Diego Mesa) came in to pitch and he allowed just two hits through the sixth and seventh inning to keep the score at 9-3.
The Stingers got a runner in scoring position in the top of the eighth inning when Tyler Bosetti hit a double into left field. However, the Honkers’ defense responded thanks a diving catch by center fielder Vinny Tosti (Oregon) to prevent Willmar from scoring that inning.
The Flock added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Zalesky hit an RBI single that scored Armstrong from third base.
Anthony Rodriguez (Monroe College) came in to pitch the ninth and he got the last three outs to give Rochester a 10-3 win and a series sweep of Willmar.
The convincing win makes Rochester’s second half record 8-5 while their overall record improves to 26-22.
Andy Armstrong was honored as the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for going 3-5 with 2 RBI and three runs scored.
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. After the All-Star break, the Honkers travel to Willmar, MN, to face this same Stingers team for two games starting on Thursday, July 18, at 7:05 p.m.
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.