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Eric Peterson, Published July 25 2012

RedHawks edge Sioux Falls to win 10th consecutive home game

FARGO – When Tom Boleska gets in the game, success in almost certain for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

That trend continued Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

The RedHawks closer pitched a scoreless ninth inning to help his team secure a 4-3 victory against the Sioux Falls Pheasants in American Association baseball before 4,242 fans.

“He’s lights-out,” RedHawks outfielder Jon Gaston said of Boleska. “We he comes in the ballgame, we know it’s going to be over for them. … We’re confident behind him and he’s confident with us behind him as well.”

Boleska earned his league-leading 20th save Wednesday, lowering his season ERA to 1.47. The hard-throwing right-hander has blown just one save chance this season. He’s converted 8 of 9 opportunities at home and is a perfect 12-for-12 on the road.

“We’ve called on him a lot,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “He’s just been very solid.”

Boleska said his formula for success has been simple.

“I’m just throwing a lot of strikes, getting ahead of guys,” Boleska said. “My cutter (cut fastball) has been working really well. It’s a good pitch to have so I can just flip it in there, but it still has a little movement on it.”

The RedHawks (40-23) continued their torrid pace, having won 10 consecutive home games. F-M has won 31 of its past 37 games to vault into first place in the North Division.

The RedHawks have a three-game lead over second-place Winnipeg in the division.

“It’s a little bit of momentum and more or less finding the right mix of players,” Boleska said. “Guys come to the park each day, knowing where they are going to be in the batting order, knowing where they are going to be in the field. It’s working well.”

Boleska retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth inning Wednesday before Sioux Falls mounted a potential rally. Sioux Falls had runners on first and second base after back-to-back, two-out singles. Boleska worked out of the jam, getting Pheasants leadoff hitter Jonny Kaplan to tap into a fielder’s choice for the game’s final out.

“He found a way to fight through it and get it done,” Simunic said.

The RedHawks used the long-ball to fuel their offense. Buddy Sosnoskie cracked a two-run home run in the first inning, while Gaston added a solo blast in the fourth inning. Carlo Cota added an RBI double in the fourth inning that staked the RedHawks to a 4-1 lead. That proved to be the winning run on a night when F-M got outhit 11-6.

“Our home-run prowess is starting to pick up a little bit where we can score some runs with the home run,” Simunic said. “We didn’t get many hits, but we’re not counting hits here, we’re counting runs.”

NOTES: Right-hander Alex Caldera (8-1, 3.12 ERA) is set to start today for the RedHawks. Sioux Falls is expected to counter with left-hander Peter Gehle (5-5, 4.68 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. … The RedHawks are 19-13 at Newman Outdoor Field this season, including a 14-2 mark over the past 16 games. … RedHawks shortstop Zach Penprase had his 22-game hitting streak end Wednesday after going 0-for-2. Penprase walked twice and scored a run.

SIOUX FALLS REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Kaplan cf 5 0 0 0 Pnprse ss 2 1 0 0

Morals ss 4 1 1 0 Ssnskie rf 3 1 1 2

Bolden lf 4 0 2 0 Stvall rf 1 0 0 0

Nicls 3b 4 1 2 0 Jckson cf 2 0 1 0

Grrro dh 4 0 1 1 Cmbll 3b 4 0 0 0

Lwhrn 1b 4 0 0 0 Gaston lf 4 1 1 1

Crpntr rf 4 1 1 0 Dlgado dh 3 0 0 0

Quntna c 4 0 3 1 Rdrgz 1b 3 0 1 0

Antsn 2b 4 0 1 0 Jnnngs c 3 1 1 0

Cota 2b 3 0 1 1

Totals 37 3 11 2 Totals 28 4 6 4

SF 000 101 100–3 11 0

FM 200 200 00x–4 6 1

2B–Bolden (10), Guerrero (12), Quintana (14), Rodriguez (18), Cota (17). 3B–Carpenter (3), Jackson (2). HR–Sosnoskie (2), Gaston (8). CS–Jackson (3). LOB–Sioux Falls 7, Fargo-Moorhead 4. E–Stovall (14). DP–Fargo-Moorhead 1.

SIOUX FALLS

IP H R ER BB SO

Scurry, L 6 6 4 4 2 7

Cooper 1Zc 0 0 0 2 1

Van Leur Xc 0 0 0 0 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Herron, W 6 8 3 2 0 8

Harris 1Zc 1 0 0 0 0

Dahman Xc 0 0 0 0 0

Boleska 1 2 0 0 0 0

Umpires–Home: Childe. First: Carroll. Third: Gunton. Time–2:40. A–4,242.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com