New scoreboard reads: 39ers rout Oakdale 12-6

The large crowd that turned out at Kuenkel Field July 13 for the dedication of a scoreboard, witnessed a slugfest ball game on the part of the North St. Paul 39ers and their counterparts, the Oakdale Mavericks.

The game, held in conjunction with the dedication ceremonies for the sparkling edition to Kuenkel Field, saw the lights at game’s end read, "Home": 12 - "Visitors": 6.

The 39ers’ bats pounded out 12 hits and were led by B. J. Thompson, who came up one shot short of the cycle. Thompson netted nine total bases with a double, triple and home run. He garnered five RBI and scored twice. Additionally, Thompson pulled down eight fly balls - two were nice running catches of line shots - in his position as center fielder for the 39ers.

"It was a fun game," Thompson smiled when reminded all he needed was a single for the cycle. "It was a little payback for those guys. As a team, we’ve been hitting well lately. Then ‘Seeps’ (39ers’ hurler Bryan Sepion) threw well for us tonight. He kept us in the game. We’re hitting the ball all through the lineup. I just hope we can keep up the hitting as we go into the playoffs."

Thompson referred to the upcoming District IV playoffs, July 26-29.

The game was scheduled as a non-district contest and North St. Paul manager Ron Adams chose the game against rival Oakdale (made up of players who attend Tartan) as the night to dedicate the scoreboard.

There were dignitaries from each of the scoreboard sponsoring groups on hand. The near SRO crowd was treated to some entertaining baseball.

"We swung the bats pretty well, but we got down and couldn’t come back far enough," Oakdale manager Charlie Godbout said. "We’re a little thin on pitching, but hey, we’re one-one with North St. Paul and our guys have to feel good about that. The 39ers have been in the business a lot longer than we have."

Godbout referred to the fact that this is the first year for an Oakdale American Legion baseball team. The Mavericks are an independent nine, looking for an American Legion sponsor, who play in District III.

"We played well tonight. It was a nice win for us," Adams said. "We appreciate the fine crowd that turned out tonight. Our guys are swinging the bats and hitting the ball well right now. Our defense has come around and we’re playing pretty solid in the field. Hopefully we can win a few more and move up a notch or two in the standings as we head into the playoffs."

The 39ers left a couple of runners at third and second in their half of the first before they put the first runs on the board in the last of the second.

Matt Borndale led off the 39ers second by bouncing a ball over third. He went to second in front of a sacrifice bunt single laid down by Mike Richter.

When the ball squirted past Mavericks’ first sacker Sean Claugherty, Borndale headed for home. But Claugherty recovered and threw to backstop Tom Barilla, who put the tag on Borndale for the out.

Ben Berger stepped in and reached on an infield error as the Mavericks tried to force Richter at second. Richter went to third on a wild pitch and designated hitter Chris Muellner banged a single to right that plated Richter.

Meanwhile, Berger had moved to third and was able to score when Thompson grounded out to the right side. The 39ers had forged a 2-0 lead and they would not be bested from that point in the contest.

In the third inning, Dusty Adams led off for North St. Paul and parked a shot 371 dead-away over the centerfield fence to move the count to 3-0.

As Sepion mowed down the Mavericks (he retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced) the 39ers were intent on pushing the count higher.

In their half of the fourth, Muellner bounced a one-out double off the right centerfield fence. Muellner’s shot was followed by a Thompson triple that was laced through the right centerfield gap.

A line-shot putout later, Sepion helped his own cause with a double to right center to score two more and the 39ers went up by 6-0.

In the top of the fifth, the dam broke on the 39ers. Perhaps a harbinger of things to come was the line drive off the bat of Kyle Ranum to a nice running catch in centerfield by Thompson.

Barilla stepped in and worked a walk. Mike Hanson followed with a single to left. Then came the break the Mavericks needed and they didn’t waste the chance.

A ball off the bat of Marc Scott was booted and Barilla scored. A pop-up later, Bryan Jost picked up a RBI when he singled to right. Jost went to second on the attempt for a putout at home as Hanson scored the second Oakdale run.

Nate Hammes made sure it would continue when he sent a drive into right centerfield. He ended on second with a 2-RBI double. Claugherty evidently liked the idea and sent a shot into the right field corner for a double that plated Hammes.

Suddenly, the comfortable 6-0 lead the 39ers had forged did nothing to help them relax. The Mavericks had batted around in their half of the fifth, scoring five runs and narrowing the gap to 6-5.

However, the 39ers came right back in the bottom half of the inning. Borndale slashed a rope to left but Jost made it look routine with a nice catch. Richter followed and worked a walk. Berger banged a single up the middle, in front of a 5-3 Hanson-to-Claugherty putout and the Oakdale partisans inched back into a more comfortable setting.

But to the plate strolled Thompson. It took two pitches before the center fielder blasted a 3-run, 372-foot, fence-clearing shot over the left field barrier to give the 39ers a 9-5 margin.

The Mavericks came back in the top of the sixth. Ranum beat out a roller to the right side. Hanson singled and in stepped Jake Schmidt. His bouncer down the left field line plated Ranum and Sepion left the mound in favor of Derek Holmberg.

A groundout ended the Maverick’s threat and the 39ers came up, still swinging their bats in the lower sixth.

Dusty Adams led off and was nailed with a pitch. Holmberg followed and looped a single into left (he was replaced by Sepion who came in to run). Scott Horner put down a sacrifice bunt and the 39ers had runners at third and second.

Borndale, who ended up 2 for 4, leveled on an offering and sent a two-RBI double into left center. A fly-out later, Berger bounced a shot over third, into left. The high-hopper plated Borndale with the final run of the contest.

At game’s end the newest edition to Kuenkel Field read 12-6, in favor of the 39ers.

The victory evened the series between the rivals at one game each (Oakdale claimed a 14-12 win back on June 12). The teams next will head into their respective playoffs.

District III (31 teams) will hold their seeding meeting July 20. The District III Oakdale nine will play a best two-of-three "knockout" round beginning July 21, at the home of the highest seed. The second game, July 22, will be at the home of the lower seed and round three, if necessary, will be at the home field of the higher seed, July 23.

The field will be reduced to 16 teams and will enter double elimination play, scheduled for July 27-31, at fields in Apple Valley and Burnsville.

Next up, the 39ers will end the regular season July 24, with a scheduled double header. At 6 p.m., they host North End at Kuenkel Field and, at 8 p.m., they take on Arcade-Phalen.

The District IV playoffs will begin with single elimination games July 26 at Municipal Stadium in St. Paul.

Following the first round games, teams will begin double-loss elimination, July 27-30, with games scheduled for Kuenkel Field in North St. Paul.

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