Honkers Fall in Extras
The Rochester Honkers played their first extra inning game of the season on Sunday and the longest game of the season was a loss for Rochester, 6-2.
Logan Spitzack started for Rochester and left with a 2-1 lead, but was long gone by the time the contest was decided. Spitzack came in having just walked four batters over 22 innings of work, but gave up three free passes and five hits in just five innings Sunday before leaving the ballgame.
The Rochester offense got on the board early again, with a lead-off base hit by Alex Schultz, a Schaefbauer sacrifice bunt, and another base hit by Jeff Campbell to make it 1-0.
Though there were seven errors between the teams, there were some spectacular defensive plays. The aggressiveness on defense started with a diving catch by Corey Hassel in left field in the top of the second. Blaise Lezynski quickly got in on the action in the top of the third, with a diving play of his own in right field. The fourth inning for Rochester was ended by an amazing play by Willmar's second baseman Brian Pruett. Pruett got to the ball and made a Jeter-esque jump throw to first to retire Blaise Lezynski.
In the home half of the second, the Honkers got another lead-off hit, this one by Anthony Sequeira, his first of four hits on the day. A stolen base by Sequeira and a double off the bat of Blaise Lezynski gave Rochester a 2-0 lead.
L.J. Brewster came out of the bullpen for Rochester in the sixth inning, trying to hold on to a 2-1 lead. After a walk, Brewster struck out the side in the sixth and retired the first two in the seventh before facing Nick Rivera. Rivera had driven in a run in the fifth on a single, and this time tagged one for a home run to tie the game.
Both offenses were then shut down by the relievers. Jeff Campbell, who had driven in the first run of the game for Rochester, left the designated hitter role to pitch for the Honkers. Campbell gave up just two hits and one walk through five innings of work in the game. Campbell hit a ball just foul down the third-base line in the tenth that would have produced the game-winning run and given him his second pitching win on the season.
The Honkers loaded the bases with one out on three walks in the 13th, but a strikeout and a fly-out kept the extra frames scoreless.
The bottom of the 14th saw some controversy, as a close play at first base went against the Honkers. Matt Bowman did not like the call, and went out to argue that Schultz beat the throw from shortstop. The umpiring crew did not agree and after further argument tossed Bowman.
The game reached the 16th inning, with neither team having scored since the 7th. But things were about to change. Nick Gruener was called on to face the meat of the order and gave up two one-out singles before getting the second out. After a walk, the first run in extras came in on an error by Connor Schaefbauer. Two base hits later, it was 6-2 Stingers. Rochester looked like they had something going in the bottom of the inning, leading off with an error and getting two on with one out, but a jumping catch by shortstop Dutto robbed Lezysnki of a base hit, and the game was over the next at-bat.
Rochester will go for a series split Monday night, as Seth Holbert looks to get his second win in as many starts against the Stingers. First pitch Monday is set for 7:05 p.m.