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Forum staff reports , Published August 29 2012

RedHawks cool off Laredo

FARGO – Star power is one of the reasons the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks have the best record in American Association baseball.

The RedHawks, who earned an 11-1 victory against Laredo on Wednesday at Newman Outdoor Field before 3,468 fans, have three players that have a legitimate chance to be the league’s player of the year.

“They all three should be right in the running,” said RedHawks manager Doug Simunic, who was ejected during the first inning of Wednesday’s game.

Center fielder Nic Jackson, shortstop Zach Penprase and designated hitter Ryan Delgado have all done enough to be considered among the top players in the American Association this season.

Jackson is a slick-fielding outfielder who is in the top five in the league in home runs and RBIs. Penprase has played stellar defense in the middle infield and leads the league in stolen bases and runs scored. Delgado ranks in the top five in the league in home runs and RBIs.

Of those three players, Simunic said he would give Jackson the slight edge for player of the year with Penprase right behind. The fact that Delgado has been used mostly as a designated hitter could hurt his player of the year hopes.

Jackson is batting .309 with 17 home runs and a league-best 84 RBIs in 94 games. Delgado is hitting .311 with 18 home runs and 83 RBIs in 88 games. Jackson went 2-for-5 with three RBIs on Wednesday to take over the league lead in RBIs from Delgado.

“It’s a nice luxury to happen on a team where you have two guys with really good numbers like that,” Jackson said. “But it’s not really a competition.”

Penprase, who bats leadoff, is hitting .313 and has scored 87 runs and stolen 44 bases. He’s walked 69 times in 92 games.

Jackson said he would be hard-pressed to choose an MVP out of the F-M lineup.

“It would be really hard to pick one,” Jackson said. “But just because the way the lineup works, if Zach goes we go. Once he gets on base, that’s how we get going. He sets the table for us and we just try to drive it in.”

Delgado had an RBI double in the fourth inning against Laredo that gave his team a 7-1 lead. Delgado finished 1-for-4 at the plate.

“He surprised us,” Simunic said of Delgado. “We knew he had power, we didn’t know how it was going to catch on. It caught on really well. He’s got a nose for an RBI.”

Jackson had an RBI single during a five-run third inning, which broke open the game. He added a two-run double in the seventh inning.

“He’s had a very solid season,” Simunic said of Jackson. “He controls center field. He makes the plays. He gets his hits. He’s just and MVP 80-RBI guy. He’s had a sensational year.”

Penprase drew three walks and scored a run against Laredo.

The loss snaps an 11-game winning streak for Laredo (51-44).

“He’s just been a polished player this year,” Simunic said of Penprase. “He’s been a guy that’s come with the whole game. We’re fortunate to have him.”

The RedHawks have a fourth MVP-type player in their lineup in third baseman Eric Campbell. Campbell, however, didn’t join the RedHawks until early July. Campbell is batting .342 with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs in 49 games.

Fastballs

Right-hander Tyler Herron (11-3, 3.41 ERA) is scheduled to start today for the RedHawks. Laredo is expected to counter with right-hander Mark Haynes (3-6, 5.53 ERA). … Second baseman Carlo Cota (hand) and outfielder Jon Gaston (leg) were held out of the lineup Wednesday night due to injury. Simunic hopes the two are back in the lineup soon with the postseason on the horizon. “We really need both those guys,” Simunic said. … RedHawks right-handed starter Aaron Shafer pitched six solid innings on Wednesday to earn his 10th victory this season. … The RedHawks have a 31-17 record at Newman this summer.

LAREDO REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Dougls cf 5 1 3 1 Penprse ss 3 1 0 0

Mojica ss 5 0 2 0 Sosnskie lf 6 2 2 1

Allen lf 4 0 2 0 Jackson cf 5 1 2 3

Nichls dh 4 0 0 0 Cmpbell 3b 3 2 1 2

Brito 1b 3 0 1 0 Delgdo dh 4 0 1 1

Mquez 3b 3 0 0 0 Rodrgz 1b 4 2 1 1

Incvgla 2b 1 0 0 0 Stovall rf 4 1 3 1

Ptrson c 3 0 1 0 Jennings c 3 1 1 0

Butler c 1 0 0 0 Casper 2b 4 1 2 0

Person rf 4 0 0 0

Scelfo 2b 4 0 1 0

Totals 37 1 10 1 Totals 36 11 13 9

Laredo 001 000 000–1 10 1

RedHawks 015 101 21x–11 13 0

E–Marquez (7). HR–Douglas (6), Campbell (11). LOB–L 10, F-M 12. 2B–Sosnoskie (17), Jackson (25), Delgado (27), Stovall (15). SF–Campbell (5). CS–Penprase (5). SB–Sosnoskie (9), Jackson (19).

LAREDO

IP H R ER BB SO

Way, L 2Xc 7 6 6 2 4

Wilson 3Zc 4 2 1 2 3

Jones 1 2 2 2 3 1

Zavala 1 0 1 1 3 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Shafer, W 6 7 1 1 1 4

Harris Zc 2 0 0 0 0

Dahman Xc 0 0 0 0 1

Fuqua 1 0 0 0 0 0

Boleska 1 1 0 0 0 0

Umpires–Home: Thigpen. First: Hicks. Third: Solsaa. Time–2:28. A–3,468.

RedHawks’ manager Doug Simunic ejected in bottom of first inning with two outs.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com