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NORTHWOODS LEAGUE: Roche does a bit of everything in Lunkers’ win over Rochester

ROCHESTER — Casey Roche not only had a great day at the plate, but turned in stellar performances in the field and on the mound to help the Brainerd Lunkers to 2-1 win over the Rochester Honkers at Mayo Field Monday.

Roche hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth to dead center field that put the Lunkers ahead for good at 2-0.  

In the field, he made a diving catch in the second and threw out Rochester’s Dave Wright trying to score in the fifth.

And, in the bottom of the ninth, Roche came on to record his third save of the season. 

The Honkers threatened in the ninth with runners on the corners and one out, but Wright was called for interference as he blocked the throw from second baseman Tyler Wampler to first baseman Ryan Abrahamson trying to complete the double play.

Lunkers’ ace pitcher Joe Willman turned in another strong performance going seven innings, giving up five hits and one run while striking out six. The win moves his record to 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA.

Alex Alemann, making his final start for Rochester this season, fell to 1-4 despite pitching eight innings and striking out four.

Brainerd scored early with Andrew Letourneau ripping a leadoff double in the top of the first followed by Christian Stringer’s single.  Letourneau scored when the next batter, Tommy Reyes, hit into a double play, the first of four double plays executed by Rochester in the game.

The Honkers lone run came on a seventh-inning solo home run by Ryan Hambright.

Stringer finished the game with a pair of hits for Brainerd and Hambright led Rochester going 2-3 with a double, home run, an RBI and a run scored.

The win gives the Lunkers a two-game sweep over the Honkers moving them to 14-9, one game behind Mankato for the lead in the North Division.

After a day off Tuesday, the Lunkers will be back in action at home Wednesday for the first of three more games against Rochester. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. at Mills Field with Aaron Griffin slated to start for Brainerd against Eric Davila for Rochester.

Brainerd   100  100 000 — 2 8 0

Rochester 000 000  100 — 1  7 0

Brainerd: Joe Willman, Tyler Sparger (8), Casey Roche (9) and Jonathan Crist

Rochester: Alex Alemann, Austin House (9) and Scott Thornburg

W: Willman (3-0). L: Alemann (1-4). Sv: Roche (3).

2B: Andrew Letourneau (B), Dan Olinger (B), Ryan Hambright (R)

HR: Roche (B), Hambright (R)

SB: Dave Wright (R)

RBIs: Brd-Roche, Roch-Hambright

DP: Roch 4, Brd 2

LOB: Roch 6, Brd 5

Record: Brainerd 14-9

Next: Brainerd vs. Rochester at Mills Field in Brainerd 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.