by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Rogers pitcher Blake Shermer threw what “arguably could have been a no-hitter,” in his coach’s words, but had control trouble and the Royals lost to the first-place Monticello Magic 3-2 on Tuesday evening.
Monticello was credited with three hits, all on bunts. The host team is official scorer.
The Magic scored twice on squeeze bunts in the fifth inning, both scored as hits. Coach Brian Harapat said that on the first bunt a throw was made to home plate, too late, and on the second bunt, Shermer dropped the ball when trying to pick it up.
With the score 2-2 in the last of the seventh, Shermer walked the first two batters. The third Magic batter dropped a nice bunt down the first base line. First baseman Austin Barbeln fielded the ball on the chalk, then lost control of it when trying to make the tag as he and the batter collided. This was also scored a hit. The next batter hit a sacrifice fly that ended the game.
“Monticello only hit two balls out of the infield,” said Harapat. “However, Blake walked five and hit a batter, including the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh.”
Harapat noted that the scorekeeping decisions on those plays meant little compared the outcome of the game.
“We played pretty well against a first-place team, and still lost,” he said. “We are probably the best 1-6 team around but we have to start winning some of those.”
Shermer struck out six in his solid effort.
Monti lefthander Jacob Frederick pitched the distance, allowing just six hits and one walk, striking out five, as the Magic improved to 4-1 in the Mississippi 8 and 4-3 overall.
Rogers took a 2-1 lead in top of the sixth when Andrew Smith tripled home a run and scored on Barbeln’s single. The rally started when a runner got aboard via error. Smith had two of Rogers’ six hits.
Rogers, 1-4 in conference and 1-6 overall, will host Cambridge-Isanti on Thursday.