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Eric Peterson, Published June 09 2013

RedHawks grab share of first place in division

FARGO – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks have climbed their way back to the top of their division.

The RedHawks erupted for four runs in the first inning Sunday at Newman Outdoor Field. That early offense fueled F-M to a 7-2 victory against the Winnipeg Goldeyes in American Association baseball before 2,398 fans.

The RedHawks (13-11) completed a three-game series sweep with the victory to move into a first-place tie in the North Division with the St. Paul Saints.

F-M started the season losing eight of its first 10 games.

“It feels good to be up at the top and in the mix,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “There is still a lot of work to do. Our schedule is going to get tough.”

The RedHawks start a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. today against St. Paul (12-10) at Midway Stadium.

“We know we have a good team,” said RedHawks first baseman Keith Brachold, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Sunday. “We knew it even when we were on our early season slide. We just had to be patient and wait for some bats to come alive.”

The RedHawks have scratched back into the division race by playing well against rival Winnipeg, which won its first eight games this season. F-M has a 6-0 record against the Goldeyes this season.

“We faced a team early in the year that we couldn’t beat; we are 0-7 against Laredo,” Brachold said. “That’s just the way baseball goes. When the confidence level climbs up a little bit, everyone starts to feel more comfortable.”

The RedHawks got to Winnipeg starter Alex Capaul in the first inning on Sunday afternoon. Brachold started the rally with an RBI single to right field. Third baseman Ronnie Bourquin capped the inning with a bases-loaded single to right field that was good for two RBIs. A third run scored on the play after a Winnipeg error helped C.J. Retherford score all the way from first base. That gave F-M a 4-0 lead.

“It’s huge, especially on a day game, the last game of a series when you are trying to sweep a team,” said Brachold, who is batting .279 this season. “It’s very difficult to do at any level.”

RedHawks left-handed starter Ethan Opsahl gave up one run in three innings before he was lifted from the game.

“He’s had a bad neck for the second or third time,” said Simunic, who plans to move Opsahl to the bullpen.

F-M got solid relief work from right-handers Pete Levitt and MacKenzie King. They limited the Goldeyes to one run over the final six innings. King held Winnipeg scoreless for 3 Xc innings, allowing one hit to pick up his first victory this season.

“King’s a guy who is going to dance some stuff up there and makes it tough on people,” Simunic said. “All good stuff out of our bullpen. Maybe it will give them some confidence.”

Four different RedHawks had two-hit games, including Brachold. Bourquin finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs to raise his season average to .342. He leads the team in that category.

The RedHawks have won 11 of their past 14 games to get back into the division title hunt in a tightly packed North Division. All four teams in the division are within two games of first place.

“It gave us a chance to get in the mix,” Simunic said. “It’s going to be a real dogfight of whoever starts changing their personnel or whatever.”

NOTES: RedHawks right-hander Taylor Stanton (2-2, 4.56 ERA) is slated to start today against the St. Paul Saints. … RedHawks shortstop Zach Penprase drew a walk in the sixth inning Sunday against Winnipeg to become F-M’s all-time leader in that category. Penprase has 255 career walks with the RedHawks. … The start of Sunday’s game was pushed back 1 hour, 17 minutes due to rain. The first pitch was thrown at 2:17 p.m.

WINNIPEG REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Lentini cf 5 1 0 0 Pnprse ss 3 1 1 0

Ramon 3b 4 0 1 0 Graham lf 5 0 0 0

Scoma lf 4 1 2 1 Jackson cf 4 2 2 0

Mzzola rf 3 0 0 0 Alberts dh 3 1 1 1

Hrether 1b 4 0 2 0 Brchold 1b 4 2 2 1

Davis dh 4 0 2 1 Rthrford 2b 3 1 2 1

Alen c 3 0 0 0 Burquin 3b 4 0 2 2

Guida c 1 0 0 0 Jennings c 3 0 0 1

Smson ss 3 0 1 0 Sosnskie rf 4 0 0 0

Liles 2b 4 0 1 0

Totals 35 2 9 2 Totals 33 7 10 6

WINNIPEG 001 001 000 –2 9 3

REDHAWKS 402 100 00x –7 10 0

E–Ramon (9), Alen (4), Liles (5). LOB – Winnipeg 8, RedHawks 8. DP – Winnipeg 1, RedHawks 1. 2b – Haerther (4), Davis (4), Retherford (2).

WINNIPEG

IP H R ER BB SO

Capaul, L 2Zc 7 6 5 2 0

Correa 4 3 1 1 2 2

Downing Xc 0 0 0 0 0

Kissock 1 0 0 0 0 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Opsahl 3 4 1 1 0 1

Levitt 2Zc 4 1 1 1 0

King, W 3Xc 1 0 0 1 0

Umpires–Home: Krauss. First: Ballou. Third: Grassa. Time–2:33. A–2,398.


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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

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at peterson.areavoices.com