By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
The Rogers Red Devils are still feeling the growing pains of being the second youngest franchise in the North Star League.
Established in 2007, only Elk River (2008) is younger when it comes to the 15-team amateur baseball league.
Outfielder Aaron Cook has been the skipper of Rogers the past five seasons and Cook said the team has not only struggled to find wins, but they have had to dig deep to find kids to fill out a roster.
This year’s team has a number of players that have crossed the line from St. Michael-Albertville to join the Red Devils. It was just two weeks ago that Tyler Berg, Bailey Solberg and Jaylen Hakes were dawning the blue and gold of the STMA Knights varsity baseball team.
“There’s a lot of good baseball players over at St. Michael that want to play baseball,” Cook said. “Unfortunately, here at Rogers, we can’t get that same level of commitment. Guys get done with high school baseball and they are done playing.
“Right now, we’re just looking to get players and looking to build. If we have to go over to St. Michael to get them, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Even the new additions haven’t paid its dividends. Rogers has yet to win a game (0-7 overall) and its most recent loss came in a 19-1 loss at home on June 12 to Albertville.
Villains’ manager Paul Schumacher said he’s noticed some change with the Red Devils.
“They’re trying to rebuild and going through some growing pains,” Schumacher said. “They have a lot of young guys and some guys out of position and we took advantage of it. But they have a good attitude and if they keep it together they will be alright.”
Rogers starting pitcher, Hakes, was chased after retiring only one batter in the top of the first inning. Albertville put an eight spot on the board in its first at bat and later responded with four runs in the second, three each in the third and fourth innings and one in the fifth to account for the 19-1 five-inning victory.
The Red Devils spoiled Albertville’s Drew Bebus’ shutout bid thanks to a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth that allowed the only Rogers run to cross the plate.
Hakes, Dylan Morris and Rob Fodness toed the rubber for Rogers as Albertville smacked 23 hits, including three hits each from Corey Nelson, Shane McLaughlin and Ben Poidinger.
“Albertville has a lot of good players and they usually end up playing well against us,” Cook said. “Obviously this game wasn’t what we’re used to playing. We had a couple close games earlier.
“We lost 5-3 to Anoka in a game we blew late but should have won. We’ve been playing competitive baseball against most the teams in the league.”
Rogers looks for its first win Wednesday, June 19 at Champlin. The Red Devils lost 9-0 to Champlin on June 9.
Albertville improved to 7-5 overall with a 7-6 victory last Saturday over the Rockford Red Bandits. Mitch Roberts earned his first career win as a Villain. Wednesday night they are at Elk River.
SAINTS WIN STREAK
ENDS AT FIVE
After stringing together five straight wins, the St. Michael Saints (7-3 overall) dropped a 9-8 home game on June 14 to Anoka. Max Ditty recorded three hits and Mitch Bauer pitched nine innings, but got a no-decision as the Saints would lose in 11 innings.
St. Michael rebounded two days later with a 7-1 victory on Sunday over Elk River. The Saints are next in action Wednesday night at home against the Minneapolis Angels.