Honkers Split Double-header Against Stingers
Rochester, MN — After a nightmare first inning in game one of the double-header, the Rochester Honkers responded by outscoring the Willmar Stingers 10-4 the rest of the night to earn a series split.
Sam Baier got the scoring started right away for Willmar by hitting a lead-off solo home run. After a single and a double, Chase Stanke gave the Stingers a 3-0 lead with a two-run double.
Daniel Walsh lined an RBI single into the outfield to make it 4-0. The next batter, Brandon Bohning, followed with an RBI single of his own.
After the second out, Baier came up again and once again he launched a home run, this time a three-run homer, to give Willmar a 8-0 lead.
Lastly, Branden Boissiere made it back-to-back homers with a solo shot that gave the Stingers a 9-0 advantage before the Honkers had even come up to bat.
Unfortunately, the Flock’s first three batters were retired by Willmar starter Garret Rukes.
Ben Strassman (Rochester Community & Technical College) pitched a scoreless second inning for the Honkers.
Rochester got its first run in the bottom of the second inning when Ryan Wrobleski (Dallas Baptist University) smashed a 383-foot, solo home run over the right-center field wall.
The Stingers responded with a solo home run of their own in the top of the third inning when Sam Baier hit his third home run of the night!
The Flock cut Willmar’s lead to seven runs when Kyler McMahan (Oregon State University) launched a 365- foot, two-run home run.
However, the Stingers once again responded with a home run by Riley Johnson to take their nine-run lead back.
Down 12-3, Micah Wallette (Golden West College) pitched a scoreless fifth inning for Rochester.
The Honkers got their third home run when Evan Berkey (Cal State University-Bakersfield) hit a 340-foot solo home run in the bottom of the fifth.
After a scoreless sixth inning, the Honkers entered the final inning of the seven-inning game down 12-4.
Jeremiah Van De Steeg (Rochester Community & Technical College) pitched a scoreless top of the seventh.
Henry George (University of Minnesota-Duluth) hit an RBI single and Berkey hit an RBI sacrifice-fly to bring the Flock within six runs, but it was too little, too late as Willmar won game one 12-6.
Kyler McMahan was named the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for going 2-4 with a two-run homer.
Game two began much better for Rochester as starter Ryan Dorney (Saint Martin’s University) allowed just one walk in the first inning.
Berkey lead-off the bottom of the first with a single and Andy Armstrong (Oregon State University) reached first base on an error, but that’s as close as they would come to scoring.
Dorney again gave up only one walk and got his third and fourth strikeout to keep Willmar scoreless in the second inning.
The Honkers got on the board first when Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) smacked a 364-foot, solo home run over the right field fence.
Dorney continued to dominate throughout the third and fourth inning; allowing just two base runners — a hit by pitch and a walk.
Unfortunately, Stinger’s starter Masen Palmier was also mowing down the Flock so Rochester held a 1-0 lead after four innings.
Willmar third baseman Ryan Johnson drew a walk, but Dorney got his ninth and tenth strikeout to maintain his no-hitter. It looked like Dorney would get his eleventh strikeout, but home plate umpire Conor McKenzie ruled a ball on what appeared to be strike three.
Stinger’s designated hitter Brennan McKenzie then laced a double into right-center field which scored Johnson. So that one hit tied the game 1-1, broke up the no-hitter, and took the win away from Dorney.
Anthony Rodriguez (Monroe College) came in and got the last out of the fifth inning.
Rochester got three crucial runs in the bottom of the fifth when Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State) drew a bases-loaded walk, Austin Schell (Golden West College) was hit by a pitch, and A.J. Miller (Oregon University) reached first base on an error which allowed Armstrong to score giving the Honkers a 4-1 lead.
Keon Taylor (Georgetown College) earned the win by getting the last six outs and only giving up one hit.
The series split makes the Honkers’ second-half record 17-16 and their overall record is now 35-33.
Dorney earned Profile Sanford Player of the Game honors for striking out and giving up just one hit in 4.2 innings.
The Flock will close their season on the road with a series in St. Cloud on Thursday and Friday, August 8-9, and in Mankato on Saturday and Sunday, August 10-11.