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Eric Peterson, Published August 23 2013

Piepkorn's return gives RedHawks a spark

FARGO – Jeremiah Piepkorn couldn’t say goodbye to this American Association baseball season.

Piepkorn was back in uniform with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Friday night at Newman Outdoor Field. He had an RBI single in the fifth inning that proved to be the game-winner in a 5-4 victory against the Kansas City T-Bones before 4,316 fans.

“I wasn’t sure it was going to happen,” said Piepkorn, who lives in Baxter, Minn. “I have a lot of stuff going on. … I enjoy playing. I forgot how much I miss playing.”

The RedHawks (58-33) lowered their magic number to 1 for clinching the North Division championship with nine games to play in the regular season.

Piepkorn finished 2-for-4 against the T-Bones, raising his batting average to .308 in the 10 games he’s played with the RedHawks this season. His first stint this season started on July 30 and ended on Aug. 8. Piepkorn had two home runs and eight RBIs during that nine-game stretch. Prior to that, he hadn’t played a professional game since 2010.

“Then after playing for a few games, I’m home and my boys are reenacting some of the games and stuff so it’s kind of a neat thing,” said Piepkorn, who was re-signed before Friday’s game. “So I thought I would do it one more time and just enjoy it.”

Piepkorn said his teaching job starts next Tuesday and he also starts graduate school next week. In addition, his 5-year-old son, Bodie, starts school.

“It’s a lot of juggling, but I thought we could make it work,” said Piepkorn, who is a former North Dakota State standout.

Piepkorn said he’s going to have to do some commuting to make the situation work.

“I think everyone in the clubhouse is excited to have him back for our stretch drive and into the playoffs,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “We know we are going to have him for only X-amount of regular-season games. We’re just trying to get him ready for the playoffs.”

The RedHawks rallied from a four-run deficit to edge the T-Bones on Friday. The game was tied 4-4 in the fifth inning when Piepkorn came to the plate with C.J. Retherford on second base and two outs. Piepkorn lined a single into left field that scored Retherford with the game-winning run. Piepkorn was thrown out trying to advance to second base on the play.

“He’s just a threat, a dangerous guy who can hit,” Simunic said of Piepkorn.

RedHawks starter Brian Ernst started slow, but was nearly unhittable after the first inning. The T-Bones scored all four of their runs on four hits in the opening inning. Trevor Coleman sparked the inning with a three-run triple. Brandon Jones’ RBI single gave Kansas City a 4-0 lead.

From that point, Ernst retired 20 of the next 21 batters he faced. The right-hander allowed just one hit in his final six innings and earned the victory.

“He probably didn’t know what his best stuff was coming out of the pen,” Simunic said. “But he settled down.”

The RedHawks started their comeback with a big fourth inning. Nic Jackson sparked the rally with a solo home run. Tim Alberts later blasted a three-run homer that tied the score 4-4 in the fourth.

NOTES: Right-hander Danny Gutierrez (0-1, 3.14 ERA) is set to start today for the RedHawks. Kansas City is expected to counter with right-hander Shaun Garceau (5-8, 4.28 ERA). … The RedHawks have a 29-15 record at Newman Outdoor Field this season. … Jackson’s home run Friday was his 64th with the RedHawks. He tied Darryl Motley for second place on the franchise’s career HR list. Jesse Hoorelbeke ranks first with 65 home runs with F-M.


ab r h bi ab r h bi

Bss 1b-cf 4 0 1 0 Pnprse ss 4 0 0 0

Gthrght lf 4 1 0 0 Borquin 3b 3 0 0 0

Davis 2b 0 0 0 0 Jckson cf 4 1 1 1

Prz 1b-2b 4 1 1 0 Rthrfrd 2b 4 1 2 0

Jons cf-lf 3 1 1 0 Piepkorn rf 4 1 2 1

Colemn c 4 1 1 3 Brchold 1b 4 1 2 0

Mrmnts pr 0 0 0 0 Alberts dh 4 1 1 3

Jones 3b 4 0 1 1 Ssnoskie lf 4 0 0 0

Prmre dh 3 0 0 0 Jnnings c 3 0 2 0

Rivera rf 3 0 0 0

Molina ss 3 0 0 0

Totals 32 4 5 4 Totals 34 5 10 5

KC 400 000 000 –4 5 1

FM 000 410 00x –5 10 1

E–Jones (2), Penprase (19). LOB–Kansas City 2, RedHawks 6. DP–Kansas City 0, RedHawks 1. 2B–Jones (23), Coleman (5), Retherford 2 (24), Brachold (19), Jennings (10). HR–Jackson (10), Alberts (14).



Cole L,0-7 5 8 5 5 0 3

Fennell 2 2 0 0 1 1

Jimenez 1 0 0 0 0 0



Ernst W,6-2 7 5 4 4 1 5

Harris 1Zc 0 0 0 0 2

Kilcrease S,5 Xc 0 0 0 0 0

Umpires–Home: Morgan. First: Durante. Third: Hicks. Time–2:21. A–4,316.

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

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