The Rochester Honkers (9-2) entered their meeting with the La Crosse Loggers (3-6) as the best team in the entire Northwoods League, regardless of conference. The Flock, off to their best start in recent memory, stayed hot and rode their bats to a fifth consecutive win in a 12-2 blowout victory on the road in La Crosse, WI.
As Honkers fans have been accustomed to this season, the offense started slow. The Loggers got out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a two-run double from Mitch Wood (Yavapai College). After five innings, the Honkers had mustered just four hits against righty starter Logan Runde (Iowa Western).
Despite the start, the team remained confident. They were hitting the ball hard and knew a change in approach was not necessary – it was just a matter of time.
A matter of time it was as the floodgates opened in the top of the sixth inning. The Honkers sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the frame. The first six Rochester batters would get on base as Runde lost command and control of the ball.
After loading the bases with no outs, leader Nico Regino (Charleston Southern) walked on a full-count to make the score 2-1. The very next at bat, Ben North (Creighton) lined a two-run single into center field to give the Honkers a lead they would only strengthen. They would add four more runs in the inning as the Loggers pitching staff fell apart, surrendering two walks and a hit by pitch in the frame.
Already up 7-2, the Honkers made sure there was no doubt in the seventh inning. They scored five more with the dagger being a bases-clearing double from Logan Mock (Southern Indiana) to stretch the lead to double digits. The catcher, who entered the contest 1-18 at the plate, went 2-4 and earned the prestigious Central Bark Top Dog of the Night honors.
The pitching for Rochester, as it has been virtually all season, was rock solid. Jon Rossi (Roanoke College) turned in his second quality start, going 5 innings allowing just two runs. Relievers Sean Head (Delta College) and Tyler Frey (Wingate University) each breezed through two innings of relief.
In the contest, Craska extended his hitting streak to five games and every Honker would reach base. Only Kimo Fukofuka (San Jose State), who was 0-3, did not record a hit.
The Honkers have now won five straight games and sit comfortably atop the Great Plains East along with the entire Northwoods League. They look for their second straight series sweep of the Loggers on Fri., June 9. Scheduled first pitch time is 6:35 p.m.
The Rochester Honkers began their 30th season of play on May 29th. Keep up with the team on social media by following them on Twitter (@RochHonkers) and Instagram (@honkersbaseball) and like the Honkers on Facebook at Rochester Honkers Baseball Club. Interact on social by using the hashtag #FunForTheWholeFlock!
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its’ 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 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 310 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website at watchnwl.com and on ESPN+. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.