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Eric Peterson, Published August 14 2013

RedHawks sneak past Rockland at Newman

FARGO – The birthday boy delivered the gift Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

On his 28th birthday, C.J. Retherford celebrated with the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning. That run-producing hit gave the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks a 3-2 victory against the Rockland (N.Y.) Boulders in independent baseball before 4,104 fans.

“He kind of jammed me a little bit, but I fought it off and floated it into the outfield,” said Retherford, who has 60 RBIs in 65 games with F-M.

The RedHawks (53-30) have won 10 of their past 12 games, inching closer to the American Association North Division championship. F-M lowered its magic number for clinching the division to 10 over second-place Winnipeg. The Goldeyes had their Wednesday game at Sioux City suspended.

“It was a good game for us,” said Retherford, who went 2-for-4 to lift his season average to .291.

The RedHawks played from behind through the first seven innings. Rockland, which is in the Can-Am League and plays its home games in Pomona, N.Y., scored two runs in the first inning. Both of those runs scored after cleanup hitter Carlos Rivera cracked a bases-loaded single into left field.

RedHawks starter Alex Caldera struggled in the top of the first, walking, hitting and walking the first three batters he faced to load the bases for Rivera.

“He knows what he’s got to do,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said of Caldera. “He’s a smart pitcher. He’s got to come out and execute in the first inning.”

Caldera found his groove after that shaky first. The right-hander followed that up with six scoreless innings. Caldera set Rockland down in order in the second, fourth and sixth innings. He allowed just two singles over his final six innings.

“He really settled down, which was great,” Retherford said. “The first inning, he was a little erratic. After that, he was lights out.”

The RedHawks scratched across their first run on a Nic Jackson RBI single in the sixth inning. They trailed 2-1 entering the eighth inning.

Jackson played a role in F-M’s second run. His infield single in the eighth inning moved Zach Penprase to third base. Penprase would score on the play after Rockland shortstop Matt Nandin dropped the ball at second base to make the score 2-2.

Retherford came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second base. Rockland left-hander Garrett Johnson, a 6-foot-10 reliever, was on the mound. Retherford got ahead 3 balls, no strikes in the count before he lined a Johnson offering just over the Rockland infield.

“He was able to plate the run, and he’s just a pro hitter,” Simunic said of Retherford. “He knew what he had to do to get the ball in play over the infield.”

Simunic would still like to see more from his offense. The RedHawks finished with nine hits against the Boulders, all singles.

“We’re not hitting right now,” Simunic said. “We had nine hits, but nothing that has a lot of glue on it. … We need our big guys to get going a little bit. We need to get some extra-base hits. We haven’t done a lot of that.”

NOTES: Left-hander Jake Laber (6-5, 4.00 ERA) is set to start today for the RedHawks. Rockland is expected to counter with right-hander Nathaniel Roe (0-2, 4.61 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. … The RedHawks have a 27-15 record at Newman Outdoor Field this season. … The RedHawks are 5-1 against Rockland all-time. F-M was 3-0 against the Boulders last season.

ROCKFORD REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Webb cf 2 1 1 0 Prnpse ss 4 2 3 0

Bmbck 2b 2 1 0 0 Brquin 3b 4 1 0 0

Edmnsn rf 3 0 1 0 Jckson cf 4 0 2 1

Rivera 1b 3 0 1 2 Rthrfrd 2b 4 0 2 1

Molina dh 4 0 0 0 Brchold 1b 4 0 0 0

Crdllo 3b 4 0 0 0 Alberts dh 3 0 0 0

Alvino c 3 0 1 0 Ssnskie rf 3 0 1 0

Kmzek pr 0 0 0 0 Enrtson lf 3 0 1 0

Mtthews lf 4 0 0 0 Jnnings c 3 0 0 0

Nandin ss 4 0 1 0

Totals 29 2 5 2 Totals 32 3 9 2

R 200 000 000 –2 5 1

FM 000 001 02x –3 9 0

E–Nandin (2). LOB–Rockford 7, RedHawks 5. DP–Rockford 1, RedHawks 2. SB–Penprase (35).

ROCKFORD

IP H R ER BB SO

Blevins L,8-8 7Zc 7 3 3 0 4

Johnson Xc 2 0 0 0 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Caldera 7 3 2 2 4 5

Opsahl Xc 1 0 0 1 1

Mrmnts W,2-0 Zc 0 0 0 0 1

Kilcrease Zc 1 0 0 0 0

Harris S,6 Xc 0 0 0 0 0

Umpires–Home: Stegner. First: Linton. Third: Hicks. Time–2:17.A–4,104.


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

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