ST. PAUL, Minn. – The St. Paul Saints played their first home game of the season on Monday night when they hosted the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks in an exhibition game. The Redhawks jumped out to an early lead, but the Saints fought back late and scored a walk-off win.
Redhawks strike early
Chaska, Minn. Native John Straka took the mound for the Saints, and worked a clean first inning, as he got the Redhawks down in order. The second inning, however, wasn’t as smooth. He gave up a leadoff double to Josh Mazzola, and after striking out K.D. Kang, gave up a RBI single to Jesus Posso to put the Redhawks up 1-0. After Kes Carter struck out, Charlie Valerio singled to right field to put runners on the corners for Yhoxian Medina, who hit an infield single to score Posso and make it a 2-0 Redhawks lead.
They extended it when Derrick Fox hit a bloop single to left field that allowed Valerio to score from second base and put Fargo up 3-0. The inning ended when Mitch Delfino flew out to center field, but the damage was done.
Fargo stretches the lead in the fifth
The Redhawks extended their lead in the fifth inning when Fox led off with a single, advanced to second on a stolen base, and scored when Delfino hit a fly ball to center fielder Breland Almadova that was misplayed, resulting in the fourth Redhawk run. Straka was able to get out of the inning when Kang grounded out to first base.
It took the Saints until the fifth inning to get a run off Fargo pitcher Cesilio Pimentel, and it came off a leadoff triple by Tim Colwell. He scored when Tanner Vavra hit a bloop single to right field that landed just inside the foul line to make it a 4-1 Redhawks lead.
The Saints picked up another run in the eighth inning when Brady Shoemaker led off with a homerun to right field that barely snuck inside the foul pole. They also had a chance later in the inning, as they had two on with one out, but a strikeout and groundout left both runners stranded.
After Fargo was retired in the top of the ninth, the Saints stepped up to the plate needing a big rally, and they got it. The first batter was Brady Burzynski, who singled to left field. Tanner Vavra drew a walk, which set up Shoemaker for a RBI single off the right field wall that made it a two-run lead. Jon Kristofferson then stepped up to the plate and delivered a double to the left-center field wall that scored Vavra and Shoemaker, and gave the Saints the win by a final score of 5-4.
- This was the fourth time this spring that the two teams have played, with the first being last Saturday, a game that the Redhawks won decisively. They will play one final exhibition game on Tuesday morning, with first pitch scheduled for 11:05 a.m.
- The Saints will open the season on Thursday when they host the Gary Southshore Railcats, while the Redhawks will open the season on Thursday in Texas when they face the Airhogs. The two teams will play each other in the regular season starting on Friday, July 7.
Win - Connor Little
Loss - Jose Nivar
Save - None
Player of the game - Jon Kristofferson (2-2, walk-off double in the ninth inning.)