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Jayson Jenks / Special to The Forum, Published September 17 2010

RedHawks stomp KC to take 2-0 lead in Northern League championship series

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – If, as Fargo-Moorhead’s players insisted, playoff baseball is about pitching, then Thursday night highlighted the power of also possessing a patient, hit-happy offense capable of burying a team.

In short, that’s exactly what FM did against Kansas City.

The RedHawks offense relentlessly mauled Kansas City’s pitching staff, and they attacked from the start. F-M sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning, eight in the second and nine again in the third.

By the time the fourth inning finished, F-M had pounded out 11 runs, and the rout was on. It was never close after that.

Fargo-Moorhead 14, Kansas City 3.

“We knew after we took the early lead again today, they kind of laid down,” Laber said. “If we can jump on them again tomorrow, it’s probably going to be a sweep.”

As far as starts go, this one couldn’t have gone much better for FM, especially after an unexpected off day Wednesday because of rain.

Nic Jackson, Carlo Cota and Eric Campbell each reached base three times. Four players produced an RBI, and every player reached base at least once.

Thing is, that all happened by the end of the third inning.

“They made a lot of mistakes as far as getting people on base, and we hit a couple home runs with guys on,” FM manager Doug Simunic said. “You don’t pitch good and you’re going to get hit. They didn’t pitch good enough, and they got hit hard.”

If Tuesday night’s 8-7 win was a testament to gritty play in the late innings, Thursday night’s rout was simply about pouring it on.

In the first three innings alone, the RedHawks cracked 10 hits, generated five walks (including two with the bases loaded) and broke open the game before the Kansas City sky fully darkened.

FM totaled 16 hits and nine walks.

“Usually when you can get runs early on a team, it puts them behind the 8-ball,” Jackson said. “It puts the pressure on them.”

The quick start certainly took pressure off starter Jake Laber, who is now 2-0 in the playoffs.

Laber generally limited the T-Bones while his offense continued adding on runs. He gave up two runs and scattered six hits across six innings while striking out eight.

“It’s kind of tough for him sitting there with 15- and 20-minute intervals of getting cold.” Jackson said, “But he did a great job for us.”

FM rolled through Kansas City and snatched both games on the road, meaning the RedHawks need just one win in Fargo to clinch their second consecutive Northern League championship

In taking Game 2 of the best-of-5 championship, the RedHawks offense produced in every phase. They walked. They manufactured runs with hard hit singles. And just for good measure, they peppered the outfield seats with home runs.

FM scored at least two runs in the game’s first four innings.

“It’s tough when you come out of the first inning and you’re down,” Jesse Hoorelbeke said. “It’s tough, even being down 1-0. It hits a little hard.”

In the first inning, Hoorelbeke blasted a three-run homer, giving FM an early 3-0 lead. Then, with FM holding a comfortable 12-2 lead, Hoorelbeke cleared the bleachers in left field with a monstrous two-run homer.

He finished with six RBIs.

The RedHawks manufactured four runs in the third inning, and Campbell added a two-run home in the fourth.

“My team is a little determined right now,” Simunic said. “They’ve got it a little bit in their eyes where they’re trying to get this done.”

REDHAWKS KANSAS CITY

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Coles rf 5 2 2 0 Simon cf 4 0 0 0

Jckson cf 4 5 3 0 Blckwd 2b 5 0 1 0

Cmpbll 3b 5 4 4 4 Martinz 1b 4 1 1 1

Hrlbke 1b 5 2 3 6 Sadler rf 3 0 1 0

Ppkorn lf 5 0 1 0 Fasano dh 4 1 1 1

Cox dh 3 0 0 1 Wshgtn 3b 3 1 0 0

Cota 2b 4 0 2 2 Hrnandz c 4 0 1 0

Zmrmn c 4 0 0 0 White lf 2 0 1 1

Pnprse ss 5 1 1 1 Mojica ss 4 0 2 0

Totals 40 14 16 14 Totals 33 3 8 3

RedHawks 324 203 000–14 16 0

Kansas City 010 010 010– 3 8 0

2B–Campbell (1), White (3). HR–Campbell (1), Hoorelbeke 2 (3), Penprase (1), Martinez (2), Fasano (1). HP–Coles (1), Cox (1). SF: Cox (2), White (1). LOB–RedHawks 11, Kansas City 8.

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Laber, W 6 6 2 2 4 8

Petrusek 1 0 0 0 0 0

Fellman 1 1 1 1 0 0

Gregory 1 1 0 0 0 1

KANSAS CITY

IP H R ER BB SO

Santos, L 1Zc 7 5 5 1 0

McAllister 1Zc 3 4 4 4 2

Hodges 3Zc 5 5 5 2 3

Heim 2 0 0 0 2 2

Shetrone 1 1 0 0 0 0

Umpires–Home: Branin. First: Linton. Third: Himmanen. Time–3:26. A–727.