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Rochester Honkers use big night from Will Asby and solid effort from bullpen to take opener

Asby finished a triple shy of the cycle, while the Honkers' pen tossed seven scoreless innings.

Rochester vs. Willmar
Infielder Alex Ritzer from Stillwater, Minnesota runs for home during the season opener against the Willmar Stingers at Mayo Field on Monday, May 30, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin
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Win No. 1 is officially in the books for Andrew Urbistondo.

The first-year Rochester Honkers skipper saw his bullpen toss seven scoreless innings and Will Asby fuel the offense as the Honkers knocked off the Willmar Stingers 5-2 to open the season with a victory in front a crowd of 1,178 people Monday night at Mayo Field.

It's one down and many more to go, but Urbistondo will remember this one.

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"This is coming with me," Urbistondo said of Monday's lineup card. "You have to (frame it), you just have to. It's going on my fridge."
The Honkers were on the board first with an RBI double from Asby, before the Stingers got to Loggers' starter Frank Craska in the second. Craska walked three in the inning, including a free pass with the bases loaded that was followed by an RBI single to make it 2-1. Yet, it could have been worse if not for a great diving stop from third baseman AJ Campbell on a ground ball down the third base line that took away for sure extra bases and stranded the bases loaded.

"AJ stepping up right there and making a play was huge," Urbistondo said. "Without that, I mean there's a couple of runs right there at least. Just a great job of giving up his body to make a play and get us out of that inning."

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An inning and a half later, Asby stepped up with runners on first and second and two down, before launching first-pitch fastball over the 350 feet sign in right center to make it 4-2. On a day with the 20-30 miles per hour gusts of wind, it was anything but a cheap shot. For Asby, who's season at Sacramento City College ended about a month ago, it felt especially sweet.

"Our season ended a little early, so it felt especially good," Asby said. "Felt good to get some barrels on the ball. I needed to find that today."

Asby finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs for a Honkers' offense that had just five hits.

The Rochester Honkers opened the season against the Willmar Stingers at Mayo Field on Monday, May 30.

"He's a good hitter," Urbistondo said. "He plays on a team in our conference, so it's just good to see him doing that here and not against us."

Asby's four RBIs by itself would have been plenty as the Honkers' bullpen was simply terrific.

Left-hander Jace Root was able to bridge the gap after starter Craska could only go two innings. The Santa Clara University freshman allowed four hits in four innings and faced just three batters over the minimum to pick up the win.

For Andrew Urbistondo and his family, baseball became a way to thrive in a difficult community in Stockton, Calif.

David Rodriguez was given credit with a hold with a scoreless seven and eighth, while Thaniel Trumper locked it down in the ninth to pick up the save.

When it was all said and done, those three allowed just six hits with zero walks in seven scoreless innings.

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"I saw some dogs tonight," Urbistondo said. "That's really what it came down to, especially Jace Root. He didn't really get extended this spring and his first outing here, he sucked it up and got it done. It was nice to see him go out and compete. Then D-Rod came in and set up well for (Trumper) to come in and shut the door. It was just an all-around great effort."

The Honkers and Stingers wrap up their two-game set tomorrow. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. at Mayo Field.

Link to full box score

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at avandenhouten@postbulletin.com.
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