ST. PAUL, Minn. – It was the game that didn’t want to end on Saturday night at CHS Field, as the St. Paul Saints and Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks took almost five hours to play a baseball game, and when it finally ended, the scoreboard looked more like a football game than a baseball game. The Redhawks ended up taking the win 17-15 in 11 innings.
Scoring starts immediately
It all got started right away in the top of the first inning when Devan Ahart led off for the Redhawks and delivered a leadoff home run over the right field fence to give the Redhawks an early 1-0 lead. Saints starter Jason Creasy was able to recover from there and recorded two strikeouts while retiring the rest of the side.
In the bottom of the inning, the Saints put up three runs, starting with a leadoff single from Ben Buerkle. After Mitch Delfino drew a walk, and Brady Shoemaker grounded out, Anthony Gallas reached on an error by the shortstop to load the bases for Nate Hanson, who picked up the easiest RBI of his career as he drew a walk to force in the first run for St. Paul. Tony Thomas followed with a two-run single to make it a 3-1 Saints lead.
For the first four innings, both teams scored in each inning, highlighted by a five-run effort in the top of the fourth inning by the Redhawks. Neither starting pitcher lasted past the third inning, as the Redhawks made the call to the bullpen in the second, while it took the Saints until the third inning to make a pitching change.
The first inning that the Redhawks didn’t score came in the fifth inning when Brandon Peterson threw a scoreless inning. He remained in the game to throw a second consecutive scoreless inning in the top of the sixth. The Redhawks, meanwhile, managed to hold the Saints scoreless in an inning for the first time in the bottom of the sixth when they went down without a fight.
Fargo-Moorhead again scored five runs in an inning, this time in the top of the seventh inning when 10 batters came to the plate and put up six hits on Jason Hoppe, who was removed after the inning with an ERA that was astronomical. Hoppe recorded three strikeouts in the inning, though one got away from catcher Maxx Garrett, allowing a run to score and extending the inning.
The Saints picked up one final run in the eighth inning when Thomas hit a two-out home run to right field, but they were unable to add anything onto it. In the ninth, the Saints loaded the bases thanks to three walks, which brought up Gallas, who represented the winning run. Gallas drew a walk to bring in one run and kept the bases loaded for Hanson. He delivered a single to center field to tie the game at 15. Thomas struck out to end the inning and send the game to extra innings.
Redhawks end it in the 11th
In the 10th inning, neither team was able to break through, which sent the game to the 11th inning. In the top of the inning, the Redhawks notched two runs, and Saints manager George Tsamis was ejected by first-base umpire Kyle Norton after arguing a call at first base that allowed the first run to score. Despite the argument, the call stood, and when the dust settled, the Redhawks had a 17-15 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, the first two batters for the Saints were retired, which brought up Gallas, who drew a walk to keep the game alive for Hanson, who struck out swinging to finally bring the game to an end, four hours and forty-two minutes after it began.
The two teams will finish the series on Sunday evening when the Saints will send RHP Benji Waite (2-1, 1.38) to the mound. The Redhawks will counter with RHP Zach Prendergast (1-0, 2.84). First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Both teams will hit the road following the game, as the Saints will head up to Canada for a series with the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The Redhawks will also travel, as they will have an off day before heading to Sioux Falls to face the Canaries.
Win – Casey Weathers (2-2)
Loss – Jeff Malm (0-1)
Save – Tyler Thompson (1)
Time of game – 4:42
Attendance – 8,753
FM – 131 500 500 02 -- 17
SP -- 341 120 012 00 -- 15