BY DAVE PEDERSEN
If Rockford town team baseball fans can look past the record they will see a competitive squad in the North Star League.
A good example was last Wednesday when the River Bandits took a 1-11 record against Maple Lake, 11-0 at the time. Rockford battled before losing 6-5 in 13 innings.
“The record is not what we want, but we are playing very competitive games,” said manager Ryan Rassatt. “We have lost so many close games where just one hit or one less error would be the difference.”
Jason Lesser has been Rockford’s pitching workhorse the past 12 seasons. He only has one win but has given the River Bandits a chance to win every time out. This includes the Maple Lake game when he worked all 13 innings against the No. 1 ranked team in the state.
“We have a couple of new guys, including Cody Kielsa, who is destroying the ball,” adds Rassatt. “He started off a little slow, but is 15 for 20 in league play, including two home runs. He has been doing the bulk of the catching.”
Infielder Donnie Mavencamp is a freshman at U of M Morris and is a graduate of Maple Lake. He is the only younger player getting significant playing time.
Anthony Brenner is playing mostly first base and is batting .324 in league play. Andy Jorges has Rockford’s best hitter since he started with the team and this year he is batting more than .400 with four doubles.
Ben Fontana has been the starting shortstop for 12 years and hit .332 last season. Adam Brion has missed half the games with work, but when he is around he is the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.
Cole Hansen is the only other pitcher throwing a lot of innings. Jake Gleason got his release a couple of weeks ago and singed with Delano.
“We also lost Rockford high school’s best pitcher, George Faue, to Loretto,” said Rassatt. “It’s been a little tough this year losing two quality arms. We did however resign Lance Reynolds, but he has not pitched yet since returning.”
Rassatt has missed half the games because he is the coach for his 11-year-old son’s traveling baseball team.
The River Bandits play at Delano, 2 p.m. Sunday, July 6 in what is a home game for Rockford because the field is unplayable. The same is true when Rockford is the home team when playing at Maple Plain, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9.