FARMING — Most days, in a baseball game, 4 homers and 16 hits gets your team a win.
But not Saturday for the New London-Spicer Twins at Farming Baseball Park.
The Twins’ lively bats could not overcome five errors and the County Line’s last surviving Class C playoff team fell 11-8 to the Richmond Rockies of the Stearns County League.
There was no doubt the culprit in the Twins’ demise after winning 15C a year ago by going 4-0.
“Defense,” said second baseman Kevin Soine, who led off the Twins’ half of the first with a home run over the right-field fence. “We haven’t played well in the field the last few games. Our pitching was good enough to win and our bats came alive today.”
In their opener, the Twins committed a staggering 8 errors in a two touchdown loss to Lake Henry.
“It’s very frustrating,” agreed manager Jamie Scheevel. “We started to hit finally but we couldn’t field. It’s disappointing.”
The Royals, many of them Rocori alumni, scored five unearned run in the third off Ben Kulset. They put up another five spot in the fourth for a 10-4 lead.
Scott Rambow, the Twins catcher, slugged a three-run homer in the third and a solo shot in the ninth, which Jake Damhof followed with another round-tripper for the final three-run margin.
All five charged errors were infield but there was at least one fly ball misplayed in the outfield.
“It’s a bummer,” said Rambow, who posted eight homers this summer. “You can’t be giving up unearned runs like that. But it’s fun to play in these games, especially in front of so many people.”
The dazzling rebuilt ballpark — pinched between a cornfields, a church and a cemetery — on the edge of settlement on a county highway was stoked by a crowd between 300 and 400 fans on another perfect afternoon. This is baseball county: 15C has been posting the best attendance in the amateur baseball’s 16 Class C regions.
Nathanial Swoyer relieved Kulset and pitched 5Z\c innings of steady relief. But Royals’ starter, Andy Bauer, didn’t allow a big hit after Rambow’s 3-run belt in the third. Roscoe draftee Brent Heinen gave up the back-to-back shots in the ninth.
Besides their 11 hits, the Royals executed on three sacrifice bunts. With the win Richmond earned a spot at State; after losing to New Munich later Saturday they will go in as the No. 4 seed from 15C.
Richmond Royals 11,
NL-Spicer Twins 8
Royals 005 501 000—11 11 1
Twins 103 100 102— 8 16 6
HITTING – Royals: Adam Backes 3-for-6, Cole Schmitz 1-for-5, 2b,4 rbi; Brent Ruegemer 3-for-5, 2b, 2 rbi; Kyle Budde 1-for-4, 2 rbi … Twins: Kevin Soine 1-for-4, solo HR, 2 rbi; Jake Rambow 2-for-5, Tyler Horning 3-for-5, 2b; Mike Danielson 1-for-4, Scott Rambow 2-for-5, 3-run HR, solo HR, 4 rbi; Jake Damhof 2-for-5, solo HR, 2 rbi; Dean Stier 3-for-5, Ryan Horning 1-for-5, Ben Kulset 0-for-1, Nathanial Swoyer 1-for-3, 2b
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Royals: Andy Bauer (W) 7-12-6-6-2-4; Brent Heinen (Roscoe) 2-4-2-2-0-0 … NLS: Ben Kulset (L) 3Z\c-7-10-5-4-1, N. Sawyer 5X\c-4-1-1-1-2