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Eric Peterson, Published July 26 2012

Stovall helps RedHawks complete sweep of Sioux Falls

FARGO – Manager Doug Simunic called Ryan Stovall a “luxury” item for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

Stovall showed Thursday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field why he’s developed into a valuable weapon off the F-M bench. Stovall had the go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning to help vault the RedHawks to an 8-4 victory against the Sioux Falls Pheasants in American Association baseball before 4,238 fans.

“He keeps your team relaxed because you can put him a lot of places on the field so we don’t have to worry about where he is,” Simunic said of Stovall. “He’s not one-dimensional. … He comes and plays every day. If his name’s not in the lineup, he’s ready on the bench. And if it’s in the lineup, he’s ready to go.”

The RedHawks (41-23) have won 11 consecutive home games, finishing off a three-game series sweep of the Pheasants on Thursday.

F-M hasn’t lost at home since July 1 and has won 32 of its last 38 games.

“I think everybody gets along really well and I think that helps a lot,” Stovall said. “Everybody tries to do their own job and that’s how you win ball games.”

Stovall did his job Thursday afternoon, spelling Buddy Sosnoskie in right field, and hitting second in the batting order. Stovall finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs to push his season average to .266. Stovall also stole his 15th base.

At one point this season, Stovall was the starting third baseman for the RedHawks before F-M signed Eric Campbell. In recent weeks, Stovall has developed into a spot starter. Stovall has played 26 games at third base, three games at first base and 15 games in the outfield this season.

“I’ve definitely gotten used to it,” Stovall said of his part-time starting role. “When you get an opportunity, you’ve got to do what you can and try to help the team win. That’s the most important.”

Stovall came to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs and the score tied 4-4 in the eighth inning after a Zach Penprase infield single. Stovall dumped a hit into right field that dropped in front of a Sioux Falls fielder. That clutch hit scored Todd Jennings and Carlo Cota to give F-M a 6-4 lead. The RedHawks tacked on two more runs that inning for the final margin.

“I just tried to put it in play and get it to the next guy,” Stovall said of what proved to be the game-winning RBIs. “It was a little on the end of the bat, that’s for sure.”

Cota, who bats ninth in the order, initially helped extend the eighth inning to set the stage for Stovall. Cota hit an infield grounder at Sioux Falls third baseman Cesar Nicolas, who was unable to come up with the ball cleanly. Cota raced up the first-base line and beat out the throw. Nicolas was charged with an error on the play. The RedHawks had runners on first and second base at that point.

“Carlo had the big ground ball, he beat it out,” Simunic said. “He hustled out the ground ball. He gave us a chance to get to the top of the lineup.”

The RedHawks start a three-game series at 7:10 tonight at GarySouthShore. That series kicks off a seven-game road swing. F-M has a 21-10 road record this season. The RedHawks are 20-13 at Newman Outdoor Field.

“We’ve just got to make this a tough place to play and be solid here. We like it here,” Simunic said of Newman. “Let’s keep playing here and winning and let’s go out on the road and do the best we can.”

NOTES: Right-hander Paul Burnside (6-4, 3.16 ERA) is set to start today for the RedHawks in Gary. … The start of Thursday’s game against Sioux Falls was delayed 28 minutes due to rain.

SIOUX FALLS REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Anthsn 2b 3 0 1 0 Pnprse ss 3 2 2 0

Mrales ss 5 0 1 0 Stovall rf 5 1 3 2

Bolden cf 5 0 0 0 Jckson cf 4 1 1 2

Niclas 3b 5 0 0 0 Cmpbll 3b 3 1 2 1

Gurro dh 4 1 2 0 Gaston lf 3 0 0 0

Lwhrn 1b 4 1 1 2 Dlgado dh 5 1 2 1

Taylor lf 3 0 1 0 Rdrguz 1b 4 0 1 0

Crpnter rf 4 2 2 2 Jnnings c 3 1 0 1

Qntana c 3 0 2 0 Cota 2b 4 1 0 0

Totals 36 4 10 4 Totals 34 8 11 7

SF 000 003 010–4 10 2

RedHawks 010 030 04x–8 11 0

E–Morales (6), Nicolas (5). LOB–Sioux Falls 9, RedHawks 10. DP–Sioux Falls 1, RedHawks 0. 2B–Guerrero (13), Quintana (15), Stovall (8), Campbell (9). HR–Lawhorn (6), Carpenter 2 (2), Jackson (12). SB–Taylor (1), Penprase (35), Stovall (15).

SIOUX FALLS

IP H R ER BB SO

Gehle 6 8 4 4 4 3

Van Leur 1Xc 0 1 0 1 1

Mertins 0 3 3 0 0 0

Heithoff Zc 0 0 0 1 0

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Caldera 5Zc 7 3 3 4 6

Fuqua 2Zc 1 0 0 0 0

Harris W Zc 2 1 1 0 0

Dahman 1 0 0 0 0 1

Umpires–Home: Carroll. First: Gunton. Third: Childe. Time–3:06. A–4,238.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com