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Eric Peterson, Published July 01 2012

Sheldon, Saints blast their way past RedHawks

FARGO – Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks manager Doug Simunic thinks his team is embarking on a critical stretch in its American Association baseball season.

Simunic voiced that opinion Sunday at Newman Outdoor Field after the St. Paul Saints powered to an 8-4 victory against the RedHawks before 2,892 fans.

“The next 10 games for us will really determine what’s going on,” Simunic said. “The next 10 have to be special games. We have to be able to go out and do something to crawl into the (division) race.”

The RedHawks (21-21) lost two of three games to the Saints to finish the six-game homestand with a 4-2 record. F-M takes a day off today before starting a four-game series at Winnipeg on Tuesday. The division-rival Goldeyes are in first-place in the North Division. F-M won three of four games against the Goldeyes the last time F-M played at Winnipeg.

“We just came out aggressive and hungry, like we had something to prove against those guys,” said RedHawks catcher Todd Jennings, who played third base Sunday. “We’re going to keep that same mentality.”

St. Paul (19-21) played long ball early in Sunday’s matinee, cracking four home runs in the first four innings. Designated hitter Ole Sheldon led the barrage, cracking a towering solo home run to left field in the second inning and adding a three-run shot to left field in the third inning. Sheldon’s three-run homer staked the Saints to a 6-0 lead. St. Paul second baseman Jon Townsend added a solo blast to left field to lead off the fourth inning and make it a 7-0 edge.

Townsend’s home run chased RedHawks starter Jake Laber, who allowed seven runs on seven hits in three-plus innings. Laber (1-4) allowed four home runs and had his season ERA climb to 5.89.

“His command was bad,” Simunic said. “He was on the big part of the plate. You can’t throw the ball on the fat part of the plate to the better hitters in the league. They are going to hit you.”

The RedHawks play their next 12 games against teams with winning records, starting Tuesday with four at Winnipeg. F-M then returns home for and eight-game homestand that includes four games against the Kansas City T-Bones and four games against the Grand Prairie AirHogs.

Even with Sunday’s loss, the RedHawks have gone 12-4 over their past 16 games. The RedHawks were eight games below .500 on June 13 after losing six consecutive games.

“I think we are in pretty good shape. We’re .500,” Simunic said. “It took us awhile to get back. Now, we’ve got to do something special in the next 10.”

NOTES: Right-handed pitcher Tyler Herron (2-3, 3.83 ERA) is expected to start for the RedHawks on Tuesday in Winnipeg. … RedHawks closer Tom Boleska pitched a scoreless ninth Sunday, making his first appearance in a week. Boleska’s previous appearance came on June 23. “He looked good,” Simunic said. “I think he’ll be fine.” … RedHawks left fielder Jon Gaston went 2-for-5 on Sunday to improve his season average to .404 (21-for-52) in 12 games with F-M.

ST. PAUL REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Frost ss 5 0 1 1 Pnprse ss 5 0 1 0

Krause ss 0 0 0 0 Pedroza dh 4 0 0 0

Hernndz rf 5 1 3 0 Jackson cf 4 0 1 0

Rapoprt cf 3 1 0 0 Gaston lf 4 2 2 0

Sheldn dh 5 2 2 4 Delgado c 3 1 1 0

Burquin 1b 4 0 1 0 Rdriguz 1b 4 0 1 1

Cabrera lf 4 1 1 0 Jenings 3b 4 1 2 2

TTwsnd 3b 4 1 2 2 Sosnskie rf 4 0 1 1

JTwsnd 2b 4 1 2 1 Cota 2b 4 0 0 0

Grabdn c 4 1 1 0

Totals 38 8 13 8 Totals 36 4 9 4

SP 033 101 000–8 13 0

FM 020 100 001–4 9 0

LOB – RedHawks 6, St. Paul 5. 2b-Frost (7), Hernandez 2 (11), Bourquin (12), Delgado (15), Jennings (6). HR-Sheldon 2 (11), T. Townsend (6), J. Townsend (3). SB-Penprase (17). CS-Rapoport (4). DP-RedHawks 1, St. Paul 0.

ST. PAUL

IP H R ER BB SO

Coe, W 7Xc 7 3 3 0 4

Carr Zc 0 0 0 0 1

Klabunde 1 2 1 1 1 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Laber, L 3 7 7 7 2 1

Fuqua 3 3 3 1 1 0 1

Morari 1 0 0 0 0 0

Zenko 1 2 0 0 0 0

Boleska 1 1 0 0 0 1

Umpires–Home: Bakke. First: McCaffrey. Third: Linton. Time–2:30. A–2,892.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com