ROCHESTER, MINN – The Rochester Honkers completed the 29th season in team history this past Saturday, as they finished 32-36 overall for fourth place in the Great Plains West.
The Honkers started their season with a bang, winning on Opening Day 5-2 against the Willmar Stingers. That night was the Will Asby show as he drove in four of the five Honker runs, three of those RBI coming on a three run home run. He was the first Honker this summer to win the Central Bark Rochester Top Dog of the Night. After that series the Honkers went to Bismarck for a four game series and when they returned, it marked the return of Brant Alazaus. The 2021 Postseason All-Star threw six scoreless innings in his return to Rochester. He had a brief stay with the Honkers in 2022, making three starts and going 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA.
Later in June the Honkers had one of their best moments of the season, in game one of a doubleheader against the St. Cloud Rox. The Honkers trailed 9-1 after the Rox scored eight runs in the second inning but came storming back. Jakob Guardado and Kevin Dowdell played a big part. Guardado allowed just one earned run over five innings out of the Honkers bullpen and Dowdell drove in five runs, including a three run home run. Entering the ninth down 11-9 the biggest hit belonged to Michael Carico, as he won it for the Honkers with a walk-off grand slam. Carico had a great summer with Rochester, in 24 games he slashed .263/.482/.447/.929 with 3 HR and 18 RBI.
July 4th was another fun day at Mayo Field where the Honkers defeated the Loggers. Jakob Guardado was named the Northwoods League Pitcher of the Night after striking out 10 La Crosse batters over five innings. Soon after that was the All-Star Game. The Honkers sent two players to Wisconsin Rapids in outfielder Nico Regino and closer Thaniel Trumper. In 41 games this summer Regino hit .318 with a .448 OBP and .860 OPS. He was routinely among the league leaders in batting average and on-base-percentage all summer. Nico is attending Charleston Southern after playing for San Joaquin Delta College this spring. Trumper, headed to Kansas, was lights out all summer out of the Honkers bullpen. He finished 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA and six saves this summer. In 26.1 innings pitched he struck out a ridiculous 54 batters.
The Honkers entered the All-Star Break on a hot streak and had one of their most memorable wins in their first game back. They defeated the Willmar Stingers in a 12 inning marathon 6-5 at Mayo Field. Rochester fell behind 4-0 early but they scored four unanswered to tie it. The Stingers took a 5-4 lead in the tenth but Nico Regino tied it with an RBI single in the bottom half. The game winning hit belonged to Dario Gomez as he lined a walk-off RBI single down the right field line to win it in the 12th for the Honkers. Gomez joined Rochester in the second half and was immediately one of the best hitters in the Honkers lineup. In 26 games Gomez slashed .385/.481/.538/1.019 with 4 HR and 27 RBI. At the time that win pulled the Honkers within one game of first place as they looked to make a playoff push but unfortunately it didn’t come about. The final home game for Rochester was on August 12th against the Eau Claire Express where they closed out their home schedule with an 8-6 victory. Carson Stevens had the deciding hit in that game, smashing a go-ahead two run double off the wall in left-center in the bottom of the seventh. Rochester finished this year with a 23-13 record at home.
The Honkers finished the summer 32-36 overall. 15-19 in the first half and 17-17 in the second half. Next summer will mark the 30th summer of fun at Mayo Field as Rochester will look to win a league leading sixth Northwoods League Championship. Thank you for following along this summer Honkers fans! For now, #FunForTheWholeFlock.