MANKATO — The Mankato MoonDogs put together a five-run, sixth inning at Franklin Rogers Park on Tuesday to earn an 8-5 Northwoods League baseball victory over the St. Cloud Rox.
Trailing 5-1 with two outs, MoonDogs right fielder Brinn Bell started the five-run rally with a slicing single between third base and shortstop to bring in two runs. A short time later, first baseman Levi Scott then hit a difficult grounder up the middle and beat out the throw to first to reload the bases.
Designated hitter Spencer O’Neil got the pitch he wanted and drilled a diamond cutter up the middle to bring in two runs to tie it up at five.
The clutch hit of the night came from third baseman Derek Umphres , who lifted the ball into shallow right field. The ball took an awkward hop to allow Scott to come in for the 6-5 lead.
“I was looking fastball early to hit cause I knew he (Chad Hockin) had that good slider, and I got behind and that is what he threw me,” Umphres said. “I just got lucky enough to get the bat out there and flipped it over into right.”
Umphres went 1 for 3 and actually got a two-RBI squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth to extend the lead to 8-5. After the St. Cloud first baseman scooped up the low throw, he lost the ball on the transfer. While looking for conformation from the umpire, Bell snuck in and added the second run on the bunt.
Tuesday’s slow start for Mankato didn’t worry head coach Mike Orchard.
“The last four to five days have been awesome. We’ve been unselfish by taking the walks and taking the bad pitches,” Orchard said. “Honestly, it was nothing I said, those guys are doing the work.”