The Rochester Honkers (15-13) were unable to capitalize on their momentum from last night’s walk-off victory as sloppy fielding led to a loss to the Willmar Stingers (20-6) in game two of the series at Mayo Field.
The Stingers, who were only able to manage four hits yesterday despite entering the weekend as the best offensive team in the Northwoods League, flipped the script today. Willmar struck for eight runs in the first four innings en route to a comfortable six-run victory.
Each team scored a run in the first inning and was held scoreless in the second frame. Willmar, who is now the first team to 20 wins, broke the game open shortly after with four runs in the third inning and three runs in the fourth inning.
Honker’s starter Daniel Zang (Dakota County Technical College) (3-2) lasted just three innings, allowing five unearned runs. Zang struggled with command all night long, walking five batters in his trio of innings.
After getting two outs with no damage in the third inning, he allowed four consecutive singles with two outs that plated four runs. Sean Head (San Joaquin Delta) would allow three runs in the fourth inning, only two of which were earned.
Both Easton Richter (St. Louis) and Petey Craska (Georgia Tech) would commit two errors apiece in a game where only five of the thirteen runs the Stingers scored were earned.
Offensively, the Honkers were only able to manage three runs in four innings against the starter Jalen Vorpahl (Alexandria Technical & Community College). The win was credited to Gino Cozzi (Montevallo) (1-0) who allowed one run in three innings.
Ben North (Creighton) notched a second consecutive game with two RBI’s while Kyle Fossum (Washington) recorded his first home run of the summer in the eighth inning. Paul Schoenfeld (Colorado Mesa) extended his hitting streak to six games while Richter had his first three hit game of the summer. The Honkers had eleven hits, compared to Willmar’s 13, but their defense did not allow the bats to catch up.
The Honkers currently sit in second place in the Great Plains East, one game behind both the Eau Claire Express (15-11) and the Thunder Bay Border Cats (14-10). Rochester has two days off before they play the Minnesota Mud Puppies (5-8) on Wed., June 27. Scheduled first pitch time is 12:05 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.