St. Paul Saints, Stars Of The North
Image courtesy of Image courtesy of courtesy of Szer DesignThe mid-season honor of being voted on to the All-Star team is being enjoyed by three Saints this summer. Ace Mark Hamburger, infielder Tony Thomas and outfielder Anthony Gallas all will be representing the American Association as they take on the Can-Am League All-Stars, July 25th in Ottawa.
Now, on to the games; starting with longest home stand of the season for the Saints, ten games in eleven days.
Winnipeg Goldeyes (June 22-25)
Kicking off the home stand was a four-game set versus the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The Saints quickly dispatched the visitors, sweeping the second-place team in the North and extending their lead in the division.
The sweep included a couple of lopsided victories to begin the series and concluded with a walk-off solo homer by Brady Shoemaker to close out the Goldeyes. This was also the first time in franchise history the Saints had swept Winnipeg in a four-game series.
By far the best moment of the series happened during Saturday night’s game. Returning for the 25th anniversary of the Saints first league title in 1993, former world champion Kevin Millar stepped in for the final at bat of his professional career - and holy cow did he not disappoint. On a 1-0 count Millar got a fastball he did not miss, crushing a no-doubter over the left field wall to ride off into the sunset with a two-run blast. What a moment for Millar and Saints fans together, and what a way to end a career. Pure magic. Way to go Kevin!!!
Sioux City Explorers (June 26-29)
Next up at CHS Field was a three-gamer against the Sioux City Explorers. The first two games didn’t end in favor of the Saints with the away team putting eight on the board in each to take a 2-0 series lead.
Avoiding being swept at home has been a strength of Saints teams since they moved into CHS Field. In fact, they have never been swept in their Lowertown home. Luckily this year’s team remembered that fact and took care of business in game three against the Explorers, defeating the visitors 6-3 to salvage the series finale.
Gary SouthShore Railcats (June 30-July 2)
Closing out the longest home stand of the season for the Saints was a visit from the Gary SouthShore Railcats. This time the Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the series with a dominating 10-0 complete game shutout by pitcher Benji Waite, his first career complete game shutout. Danny Oh had a career night, finishing with five hits and six RBI, both personal bests for the Saints outfielder.
Unfortunately, after the great start the Saints came up short in the next two games, dropping both by one run, and losing the series two games to one. After ending their latest home stand with an overall 6-4 record; the Saints immediately hit the road for six straight, with quick three-game stops in both South and North Dakota.
At Sioux City Explorers (July 3-5) and Fargo-Moorehead Redhawks (July 6-8)
First up on the road trip was South Dakota and the Sioux City Explorers. Losing the first game of the series 4-2, the Saints endured something they haven’t all season long, a three-game losing streak. Thankfully this was a taste they didn’t like, rebounding in a big way with a 12-1 thrashing of the home team in game two. Sadly, that would be all the Saints could muster versus the Explorers dropping the last game 4-1, and the series 2-1.
The final stop on the mini road trip was up to Fargo to face North Division rival, the Redhawks. After losing the first game 6-1, the Saints took control winning the final two games 11-7 and 4-2 and clinching the series victory. In the finale, pitcher Mark Hamburger struck out a career high 11 Redhawks en route to his league-leading ninth victory of the season.
Next up – Sioux Falls Canaries (July 10-13) & Fargo-Moorehead Redhawks (July 14-16)
With another successful home stand and road trip in their rear-view mirror, your first-place Saints return to CHS Field starting Monday, July 10th. The local nine, sporting a 30-18 record for second best in the league, will face off against two division foes in their next seven games in St. Paul.
Upcoming promotions for the home stand include, Monday Night Variety Night with musical guest Chris Hawkey (July 10th), The 30th Birthday of the Simpsons (July 12th), and German Night along with the 2017 team card set giveaway (July 16th).
And, don’t forget about Twins Daily Night at the ballpark Friday, July 14th. It includes a picnic and game ticket all for a minor league (and family-friendly) price. The promotion for that evening is also Biggie or Tupac, East Coast vs West Coast, followed by Friday Night Fireworks. I’ll see you there!