ST. CLOUD, MN – The St. Cloud Rox (43-25) dropped the Northwoods League Championship against the Green Bay Rockers (41-31) with a 4-3 final score, Friday, August 18th. St. Cloud made their 4th Northwoods League Championship since 2012.
The starting pitcher for St. Cloud was Evan Esch. Esch pitched 3.1 innings off the mound, striking out a batter while giving up two runs. Esch made his first playoff appearance after finishing the regular season with a 3-0 record, 3.34 ERA, and 34 strikeouts over 32.1 innings pitched.
Ben Vujovich had two hits in the championship, with an RBI. Jose Gonzalez also plated a run, with two hits for St. Cloud. As a pinch runner, Noah Blythe came around to score for St. Cloud. Anthony Mata had hits in all four postseason games, finishing with eight total hits, with five RBI and five runs scored. Seven different Rox batters had hits and they outscored Green Bay 3-0 over the final three innings.
St. Cloud used their ace out of the bullpen, Mason Olson. Olson worked an incredible outing out of the bullpen, pitching 5.2 innings, striking out seven batters while giving up just two runs. Olson was a 2023 Great Plains All-Star for his performance in 2023 with St. Cloud. Olson finished 5th in the Northwoods League in saves, with seven.
Today’s All-Star Trophy and Awards Star of the game is Mason Olson!
The Rox set single-season franchise records in steals (130), and strikeouts (664) for the pitching staff. The 2023 Rox MVP was Jackson Hauge. Hauge finished the regular season with a .306 batting average and an .841 OPS. He led the Rox in hits, (74), extra-base hits (20), RBI (51), and was the individual champion in the Great Plains Home Run Derby. Piercen McElyea and Tommy Gross were the 2023 Rox Co-Pitchers of the Year. McElyea went 6-1 as a 2023 Great Plains West All-Star and a 2023 Postseason All-Star. McElyea led the Rox in innings pitched (54.0), and strikeouts (56), with a 2.83 ERA. Gross also went 6-1 as a 2023 Great Plains West All-Star and a 2023 Postseason All-Star. He had an incredible year for St. Cloud as a starter and reliever, with a 1.14 ERA over 39.1 innings pitched, with 44 strikeouts and a 1.07 WHIP.
The 2023 Rox playoffs were presented by Minnwest Bank. For a complete game & promotional schedule, ticket information and everything Rox please visit www.stcloudrox.com