It was expected that Josh Romanski would soon return to the Winnipeg Goldeyes and that became reality Thursday night, much to the chagrin of the St. Paul Saints who saw Winnipeg Pound out 18-hits in a 16-5 victory. Romanski homered in his first game, one of three hit by the Goldeyes on the day, and Dave Sappelt had 4-hits and scored 3-runs to help pace the Winnipeg offense.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes would take the lead in the top of the first when Romanski hit the fourth pitch he saw for a solo home run to make it 1-0.
In the second, Winnipeg would blow this game open. Heyman led off with a single and then stole second before Josh Mazzola walked. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position and Tucker Nathans followed with a dribbler that allowed Heyman to score. A double by Dave Sappelt brought Mazzola across the plate to extend the lead to three. After Romanski walked, Reggie Abercrombie reached on an error, bringing home Nathans. With the bases loaded and one down, Eric Aguilera lined a double into right field that brought both Sappelt and Romanski home. Leading by six, Andrew Sohn drove home Abercrombie with sacrifice fly and that would be it for St. Paul starter Jake Esch.
Ryan Boelter came on looking to close the door and he was greeted by a Heyman double that scored Aguilera to extend the lead to seven. After a walk to Mazzola, Kevin Garcia singled into right field bringing home Heyman to make it 9-0.
In the third, Winnipeg extended their lead to 11. Sappelt led off the inning with his first home run of the season. Two batters later, Abercrombie doubled into left and he scored on a single by Aguilera.
The Saints had been kept at bay by Winnipeg starter Alex Boshers through the first three innings, but the bats showed a little bit of life in the fourth. Max Murphy started with a single and Brady Shoemaker followed with a double to put two runners into scoring position. A ground out brought Murphy home and Shoemaker scored on a single by Anthony Phillips, who was making his return to the Saints.
It stayed that way until the eighth, when St. Paul would put together a little rally. A double by Connor Olson started the inning. Two batters later, Shoemaker beat out a ground ball for a hit and Olson came around to score when Noah Perio, Jr. doubled into left field.
That would be it for Boshers (2-3). The right-hander went 7.1-innings, allowing 11-hits and 5-runs. He struck out 4.
Carter Johnson took over and was greeted by a single from Dante Bichette, Jr., which scored Shoemaker. Two batters later, Jake Smith singled into center, bringing around Perio as the Saints trailed 11-5.
St. Paul had a little momentum going, but that came to an end in the top of the ninth. Sappelt singled to start the inning and moved to second on a ground out. Abercrombie singled to put runners at first and third before Aguilera popped out. It looked like the inning would come to a quick end, but Sohn kept it alive by beating out a ground ball to third, that scored Sappelt to make 12-5. Heyman followed with a single up the middle, bringing in Abercrombie. Next up was Mazzola, who crushed the first pitch he saw for his sixth homer of the year and the score was 16-5.
Grant Heyman finished 3-6 with 3-runs scored and 2-RBI. Dave Sappelt was 4-6 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. Both Josh Mazzola and Eric Aguilera drove in 3-runs. Brady Shoemaker was 4-4 with 2-runs scored for St. Paul.
Game 2 of this four-game set is scheduled for Friday night. The Saints send RHP Matt Solter (1-2, 3.00) to the mound against Goldeyes LHP Mitchell Lambson (1-0, 0.82). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier