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Published On: July 3rd, 2023

The Rochester Honkers (18-16) lost their last game of the first half 12-1 to the Eau Claire Express (20-14) as they watched the visitors come out victorious and clinch the first half championship in the Great Plains East. 

Coming into the game, the Honkers needed a win to keep themselves in contention for the first half championship. It was not meant to be for Rochester, as the losses by the Duluth Huskies and the Thunder Bay Border Cats ensured they would have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2011 with a win on Monday night.

The Express jumped on starter Will Lavin (Western Illinois) (1-2) in the third inning, scoring four unearned runs after back to back errors to start the inning by Petey Craska and Lavin. They would smash three hits in the innings, including back to back RBI doubles from Dylan O’Connell (Saint Thomas) and Cole Conn (Illinois-Chicago).

The Express would put the game out of reach in the fourth inning – notching five runs off of Corbin Barker (UC Riverside). Eau Claire’s offensive effort was aided by three walks and two hit by pitches in the frame thrown by Barker in an erratic outing.

Overall, the first half champions mashed their way to 12 hits and 12 runs. Rochester’s offense was stymied all night by Isaac Lyon (Grand Canyon) (2-3). The right-hander went 7 innings while allowing just four base runners. The Honkers scored their only run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a solo home run from Kyle Fossum (Washington); it was his second long fly of the summer.

Rochester begins the second half tomorrow on Tue., July 4, vs the La Crosse Loggers (13-21). Scheduled first pitch time is 5:05 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 and on ESPN+. For more information, visit or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.