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Eric Peterson, Published August 09 2012

RedHawks first American Association team to 50 wins

FARGO – Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks closer Tom Boleska made franchise history Thursday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

Boleska pitched a scoreless ninth inning to seal a

5-3 victory against the St. Paul Saints in American Association baseball before a sellout crowd of 4,468 fans.

Boleska earned his 24th save with the effort, setting a new franchise record for saves in a season. George Schmidt held the previous record with 23 during the 2000 season.

“It just shows how well the team is doing this year, putting us in good position to win games,” said Boleska, who leads the league in saves. “If you have a lot of saves, it means you are winning a lot.”

Boleska snapped the catcher’s mitt with a crisp 95-miles-per-hour fastball to strike out Joe Spiers for the final out in the ninth.

“He’s electric, man,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said of Boleska. “He’s got an idea of what he’s doing. He knows how to pitch the ninth inning. … Twenty-four is a big number and we’re still playing. Maybe we get to 30?”

The American Association record for saves in a season is 30, a mark that is shared by two players. Most recently Chris Thompson saved 30 games for El Paso and Lincoln in 2009.

The RedHawks (50-27) snapped a two-game losing streak and also became the first team in the American Association to win 50 games this season.

“The goal to start the season was to be the best team throughout the season and end it with a championship,” RedHawks second baseman Carlo Cota said. “Being the first teams to 50 wins, we’re on course to do what we set out to do at the beginning of the season.”

RedHawks starter Tyler Herron (8-3) pitched seven solid innings to earn the victory, allowing three runs on five hits. Herron’s performance helped set the stage for Boleska and was also important because the Saints had jumped F-M starting pitching the previous two nights.

St. Paul scored six runs in the first four innings of an 8-2 victory on Tuesday. Wednesday, the Saints scored seven runs in the first three innings of a 7-0 triumph.

“Herron pitched a big game tonight,” Simunic said. “It took him an inning to get his breaking ball going, but once he got it going, he utilized it well and he was able to throw plenty of strikes.”

Herron threw 102 pitches, including 68 strikes.

The RedHawks scored all five of their runs Thursday in the first five innings.

Cota had a two-run single in the second inning to stake F-M to a 2-1 lead. Third baseman Eric Campbell added an RBI double in the third inning. Right fielder Buddy Sosnoskie had an RBI single in the fourth.

Designated hitter Ryan Delgado staked F-M to a 5-1 lead with a solo home run in the fifth inning.

The RedHawks prevented St. Paul from earning a three-game series sweep.

“We want to keep going,” Simunic said. “We’ve got a lot to do. We hit a little rut and now we’re back at it.”

ST. PAUL REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Raprt cf 4 0 0 0 Pnprse ss 4 1 1 0

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

Sheldn 1b 3 0 0 0 Jckson cf 4 1 0 0

Burqin 3b 3 0 0 0 Campbll 3b 4 0 1 1

Hrnandz lf 3 1 1 0 Gaston lf 4 0 0 0

Cabera dh 4 0 1 2 Dlgado dh 3 2 1 1

Durham rf 4 1 1 0 Rdriguz 1b 4 1 1 0

Spiers 2b 4 0 1 0 Jennings c 3 0 0 0

Grabdin c 3 0 0 0 Cota 2b 4 0 2 2

Totals 32 3 6 2 Totals 33 5 8 5

St. Paul 010 002 000–3 6 4

RedHawks 021 110 00x–5 8 0

E–Frost 2 (14), Durham 2 (5). LOB – St. Paul 5, RedHawks 7. 2b- Cabrera (10), Campbell (15). HR- Delgado (14). SB- Frost (17), Penprase (38), Jackson (16). CS- Rodriguez (2).

ST. PAUL

IP H R ER BB SO

Claggett, L 4Xc 7 5 3 2 1

Spottiswood 2Zc 1 0 0 1 1

Odegaard 1 0 0 0 0 3

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Herron, W 7 5 3 3 3 6

Fuqua 1 0 0 0 0 1

Boleska, S 1 1 0 0 0 2

Umpires–Home: Gunton. First: Childe. Third: Carroll. Time 2:31. A–4,468.


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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com