The Rochester Honkers (12-8) got back on track on a Sunday afternoon at Mayo Field as they used a trio of home runs to power past the Minot Hot Tots (4-14) and snap a three game losing streak.
The victory, which snapped a bigger skid of six losses in seven games, solidifies their hold of sole possession of first place in the Great Plains East.
Rochester, playing in front of a boisterous crowd on ‘Pawther’s Day’, got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first inning. Paul Schoenfeld (Colorado Mesa) crushed a lead-off home run, his first of the season. A handful of batters later, Petey Craska (Georgia Tech) clobbered an inside fastball hit his first homer of the year to put Rochester up 4-0 six batters into the game.
Minot starter Gage Yost (Minot State) lasted just one inning, surrendering the four runs on three hits. Yost threw over 35 pitches in the first inning, making him ineligible to return in the second frame.
The Honkers would add another run in the fourth inning on a throwing error from Hot Tots reliever Saul Soto (New Mexico State).
The Flock’s starter, Matt Brock (San Joaquin Delta College) (2-0) was nearly perfect through five innings, allowing just two hits and at one point retiring 13 consecutive opposing batters.
However, Minot responded in the visitors half of the sixth. Devin Jones (Creighton) led-off the inning with a home run to left field. Shortly after, Karson Evans (Louisiana Tech) hit a three-run shot to make it a 5-4 game.
Corbin Barker (UC Riverside) relieved Brock and struck out the first two batters he faced. Making his first appearance of the summer, Barker did not allow a run in 1.2 innings pitched.
The Honkers picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a solo home run by Kimo Fukofuka (San Jose State), his team-leading fifth long ball. No Honker hit five home runs in the entire 2022 season.
Drew Fifer (Indiana State) entered with two outs and the bases loaded in the eight inning after Jacob Bosse (St. Ambrose) walked four batters, one of which was retired on a double play. Fifer got Travis Stapleton (Polk State) to pop up to third base, thwarting the threat.
Greyson Christian (Northeastern State) earned the save after Fifer left the game with one out and a 1-1 count in the ninth inning with an apparent injury.
With the Duluth Huskies defeating the Waterloo Bucks, Rochester held serve and stayed atop the division. Rochester welcomes the Eau Claire Express to Mayo Field on Mon., June 19, for the first game of a home and home series. 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.