By AJ Reisetter and Joey Hudson
The Northfield River Rats played two games over the Fourth of July week and won both in commanding fashion. Their first game was against the Apple Valley 76ers the day after Independence Day, and they had some fireworks to spare as Tegan Mellgren threw six lights-out innings, and the offense plated nine runs. The next day the River Rats put up a ten spot in the first inning against rival Faribault.
Tegan Mellgren Shuts Down Apple Valley Offense
Coming off a rough start the week before against Hastings, Tegan Mellgren was looking to have a bounce-back performance against Apple Valley. Mellgren finished the night with six strikeouts over six innings and allowed two runs, only one earned.
Offensively, the River Rats opened the scoring in the first inning. Gavin Novotny worked a walk and scored on a wild pitch two batters later. Kam Kaiser came into score after Seth Thompson singled to left field and gave the River Rats a 2-0 lead.
In the second, Daniel Worden reached base on an error by the third baseman and was able to speed his way to second on the overthrow. One of many times Worden showed off his wheels in this game. He came in to score a batter later when Spencer Mellgren hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
Northfield padded their lead in the third scoring three runs on four singles. Gabe Heinritz drove in Seth Thompson on an error by the third baseman. Worden scored Nolan Thompson on a single to the third baseman that he legged out. Spencer Mellgren followed him up with a ground ball that sneaked into center to score Worden and give the River Rats a 7-1 lead.
Seth Thompson and Spencer Mellgren each had a sacrifice fly in the final two innings for a final score of, 9-2.
10 Run First Was All River Rats Needed vs Faribault
The Northfield River Rats traveled to Faribault to play the Falcons the next day and dominated from the beginning. Gabe Heinritz started on the mound for the Rats opposite of Faribault’s Jerrell Skelton.
Spencer Mellgren led off for Northfield and was hit in the back by the first pitch of the game. He was followed up by Oliver Hollerung who ripped a double into left center, giving the River Rats an early 1-0 lead. Hollerung’s double was followed by five consecutive walks and five wild pitches giving the River Rats a 5-0 lead. After Toby Moyer reached on an error by the Falcons first baseman Spencer Mellgren struck out for the first out of the game. Skelton, then, made an athletic play to get the second out of the inning, Seth Thompson ripped a single to right field to give Northfield their tenth run of the inning. After the next batter was hit by a pitch, Faribault finally pulled Jerrell Skelton, moving second baseman Riley Mason into pitch. Mason hit the first batter he faced but then got Bode Detling to fly out to finally end the inning after Northfield took a 10-0 lead.
After Gabe Heinritz walked the first batter he faced, he shut down the next nine batters he saw, striking out three. The River Rats scored another run in the second when Grant Hutton scored off a Seth Thompson single to right field. Northfield scored two more in the top of the third when Oliver Hollerung reached on an error with the bases loaded. The next batter, Kam Kaiser, walked with the bases still loaded, raising Northfield’s lead to, 13-0.
Kyan Rauk came in relief for Heinritz in the fourth, he hit one batter, walked two, and allowed three hits as the Falcons made it a 13-4 ball game. With the River Rats needing to have a 10-run or greater lead to end the game after five innings, Grant Hutton led off the top of the fifth. He ripped a triple over the right fielder’s head. After Toby Moyer walked, Hutton scored after Daniel Worden reached on an infield single. Kam Kaiser then roped a double to center field, scoring Moyer and Worden and giving Northfield a 16-4 lead. With Kaiser on third, Kyan Rauk came up and ripped a line-drive single up the middle scoring Kaiser. Rauk came all the way around to score from first when Ryan Cahoon ripped a ball to right field that popped out of the right fielder’s glove.
Kam Kaiser came in relief in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game with an 18-4 lead. He struck out the first batter he faced and then allowed a double to right center field to Ayden Qualey. After Kaiser got the next batter to ground out he walked the Faribault pitcher Riley Mason to put runners on the corners with two outs. Kaiser struck out the Faribault first baseman Cam Helgeson to end the game securing the River Rats’ 18-4 win increasing their record to 7-3 on the season.
The River Rats will play next Tuesday, July 11th when Rosemount comes to Dundas Memorial Field. You can catch that game and all Legion games on NorthfieldLive.com and stay up to date with all Northfield activities by heading over to NorthfieldLive.com and following us on social media @NorthfiedLive.