BY DAVE PEDERSEN
CROW RIVER NEWS
After dominating for most of the first two amateur baseball playoff games, the Rockford River Bandits slipped enough to let one get away, ending the season with an 8-7 loss to Cokato Saturday in the Class C Region 12 tournament.
Rockford was one of the five teams battling in a playoff for the eighth and final spot in the tournament that continues Friday, Aug. 1 in Maple Lake.
The River Bandits were peaking for the playoffs, winning the last two regular season games. Momentum continued with the 11-1 win over Montrose last Wednesday.
Rockford erupted for 17 hits while the defense did not make an error. Travis Peterson pitched seven innings allowing only one unearned run.
Alex Hecht had three hits to pace the offense while Donnie Mavencamp, Anthony Brenner and Ben Fontana each had two hits.
In the second game against Cokato Saturday night, Rockford rolled to a 7-3 lead in the seventh inning. Manager Ryan Rassatt said a few misplayed balls that were lost in the lights resulted in a big 4-run inning to tie the game. Cokato managed to win 8-7.
Jason Lesser pitched eight innings. Fontana and Brenner both had three hits. Bryan McCallum hit a big go ahead 3-run home run and Donnie Mavencamp added two hits.
“The team did come together at the end,” said Rassatt about winning three of the last four games to finish 4-20 overall. “We had most of our core type players there and we finally had the defense on the field we wanted. The bats heated up too.”
Rassatt said the team was missing one or two starters at games all year. The manager adds how first year players Donnie Mavencamp and Alex Hecht made contributions.
Top hitters for average included Cody Kielsa .450, Bryan McCallum .329, Andy Jorges .328, John Redepenning .319 and Anthony Brenner .307.
The RBI leaders were Cody Kielsa 20, Brenner 18 and McCallum 12. Kielsa also led the team in runs scored (20), doubles (8) and home runs (4).
The Class C playoffs continue Friday in Maple Lake when Hutchinson faces Loretto at 6 p.m. and Delano takes on D-C at 8:30 p.m.
Rockford grad Tyler Maher was the offensive leader for Loretto when leading the North Star league in most offensive categories. He was second with a .467 batting average, but tied for first with 42 hits. Maher also led the league with six triples, five home runs, 40 RBIs and seven game winning RBIs.