by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
This would be Ryan Gelle’s game to win or lose, Brian Harapat decided, so the Rogers coach left his star cleanup hitter in the game against Zimmerman when things got dicey in the seventh inning Wednesday.
Gelle, who pitched the last three innings in his 2013 mound debut, gave up two runs and was working with bases loaded when he finally nailed down the 9-7 win getting Cullen Sroka on a ground out.
Gelle had two good innings and one shaky one as he snagged the win while going 3-for-3 with two doubles, three runs and an RBI.
“Ryan struck out five of the first batters he faced, in the fifth and sixth,” said Harapat, “so we left him in to get out of it himself.”
Rogers improved to 5-3 and Zimmerman fell to 1-5 in the non-conference game.
Zimmerman took a 5-1 lead after two innings against Mike Terres and Connor Henderson. Terres, pitching in the rain, couldn’t get comfortable and walked five guys.
However, Bryanlee Martinez-Santiago pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings before Gelle took over, and the Royals chipped away and took the lead.
They scored five in the last of the fifth including a two-run double by Caleb Reese, a RBI double by Gelle and RBI single by Kyle Halseth, who was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Down 9-5, Zimmerman got something going with three singles, and error and walk in the seventh.
Sroka took the loss, giving up six runs (one earned) in five innings. Taylor Snw was 2-for4, Mac Riley 1-for-3 with two walks, and Cory Jopp delivered a two-run single.
Both teams have conference doubleheaders Thursday, Zimmerman at Becker and Rogers hosting Buffalo.