With a tough stretch coming up, it was important for the Mankato MoonDogs to complete the 3-game sweep against the Rochester Honkers, a team that had won only one game in the Northwoods League second half.
The teams were tied 2-2 in the 13th inning when this edition of the paper went to press.
Early on, it looked like the MoonDogs would easily get their sweep. Their first three batters: Timothy Arakawa, Hibraim Cordova, and Chase Simpson all singled to lead off the first with Simpson driving in Arakawa on a base hit to left. That was all they scored as Cordova was left stranded on third.
Bryan Bonnell got the start and went three innings. Rochester tied the game in the second. Tyler Baker led off with a double to right. Two batters later, Caleb Dugas knocked him in with a single to center.
Rochester took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Max Murphy drilled a home run deep over the wall in left center field off Ryan Quick.
Mankato countered in its half of the sixth. Quinnton Mack started the inning with a single to short. Woody Woodward followed with a single to center and Matt Wollenzin reached on an error, loading the bases with nobody out.
Alex Polston then got an RBI b7 hitting into a fielder’s choice, scoring Mack. Polston was caught stealing a short time later and Arakawa lined to short to end the threat.
Pitching was dominant at Franklin Rogers Park as three Honkers’ pitchers combined to strikeout 14 MoonDogs through 11 innings. Five Mankato hurlers joined to send down eight Rochester hitters.
The important stretch that lies ahead for the MoonDogs involves a pair of 3-game series against teams ahead of them in the standings.
The stretch begins at Willmar tonight, a team that came into Thursday’s night action two-and-a-half games ahead of Mankato in the overall standings. First place Waterloo awaits the MoonDogs after the Willmar series. The Bucks won the first half Northern Division title and leads the second half as well.