BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Wins against the top teams in the Central Minnesota Conference last week earned Rockford a second place finish, the best the school has done in more than 15 years.
Coach Randy Griffith hopes the strong finish leads to a good seeding in the upcoming section playoffs, where seeding was not made when this issue went to press.
Voters will take note of Rockford’s 10-4 conference record and the victories over first place Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted and Maple Lake, which was second at the time.
Rockford won the first game in the double header against HLWW 2-0. Senior George Faue pitched a 3-hitter, striking out seven. He faced only three batters over the minimum during the game when overpowering the Lakers.
Junior Drew VanDehey hit a key home run in the fifth inning to help pace the offense. Sophomore Tom Traen added a key hit, knocking in the second run.
The Rockets were in control for most of the second game as senior Brock Deering shut out the Lakers for another four straight innings. Rockford went 10 consecutive innings without giving up a run.
Finally, in the fifth inning HLWW put up three runs, helped by two unfortunate errors at a bad time. Deering ended with giving up only one earned run in the process. Senior Joe Agre knocked in the lone run for the Rockets in the 3-1 loss.
Rockford went to Holdingford for a double-header last Thursday. After losing the first game 11-1, the second game was a different story with a 6-3 victory.
VanDehey pitched and allowed one earned run when scattering five hits. Deering went 3 for 3 and senior Aaron Pietsch went 2 for 3 with three runs batted in.
The week ended with a 4-0 triumph over Maple Lake Friday. Faue pitched another complete game shutout, striking out seven and walking none. In control throughout, he faced only two batters over the minimum, a hair better than his previous performance. Faue gave up three hits and picked off a runner at first base.
Junior Tommy Reinking went 3 for 3 to help pace the offense. Senior Brendon Schumacher also had two hits, as did Deering.
“Rockford players should truly be proud of their accomplishments as they set many individual and team records and really played the game with a lot of intensity and heart every time they hit the field,” said Griffith.
The Rockets will end the regular season at Dassel-Cokato, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22.