FARGO – Jake Laber had a memorable Monday at Newman Outdoor Field, even though his day ended with a face full of shaving cream and two buckets of liquid being poured over his head.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” said Laber, a starting pitcher for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

Laber pitched eight scoreless innings to lead the RedHawks to a 7-0 victory against the Sioux Falls Canaries in American Association baseball before 3,782 fans.

The victory gave Laber his 46th win with F-M, setting a new franchise mark in that category. The left-hander was tied for the lead with Greg Salvevold (1997-2003) at 45 entering Monday, the final game of the regular season.

“Whenever someone breaks a record … it’s always awesome to see, especially how emotional it was for him today,” said RedHawks designated hitter Zach Penprase, who played shortstop behind Laber for most of those victories.

A Fargo North graduate and former North Dakota State standout, Laber mowed through the Sioux Falls lineup Monday. He limited the Canaries to one hit through the first seven innings.

“It meant a lot. He pitched really well this year,” said RedHawks manager Doug Simunic. “It was big that he could come out and finish it off in this season.”

The Canaries mounted their biggest threat off Laber in the eighth inning with back-to-back singles to start that frame. Laber, however, pitched his way through that jam and received a loud applause from the home crowd as he was heading back to the dugout.

Laber came back out for the ninth inning, and gave up a lead-off bloop single to Sioux Falls first baseman A.J. Kirby Jones. That would be his last batter as Simunic emerged from the dugout to make the pitching change.

Simunic said the plan was to let Laber to pitch to the first batter in the ninth inning and take him from the game. Laber walked off the field to a standing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd in appreciation.

“Doug wanted that moment for me and I was very appreciative for that,” said Laber, who lowered his ERA to 3.53 this season.

The RedHawks took control against Sioux Falls with a four-run fourth inning. F-M first baseman Michael Thompson sparked that rally with a two-run double off the wall in left field. Frank Salerno capped the rally with a sacrifice fly that gave the RedHawks a 5-0 lead.

That proved to be plenty of run support for Laber, who allowed four hits in his eight-plus innings. He struck out seven batters and walked one.

Laber threw 118 pitches, including 86 strikes.

“It was definitely one of my goals when I started the season,” Laber said of the club wins record.

During a postgame radio interview, Laber first got a shaving cream pie to the face from his teammates.

Then Laber’s teammate dumped a water bucket over his head and followed that with a sports drink bucket dousing.

“It was pretty awesome to have all the fans out here cheering,” Laber said.

The RedHawks (43-56) finished the season with a losing record for only the second time in the club’s 19-year history. F-M missed the playoffs for only the third team since it started play in 1996.

“It’s humbling and it doesn’t feel good,” Simunic said. “We’ll analyze it and look at it and see what we have to do.”

The 28-year-old Laber said he’s not sure if he will play next season.

“We’ll see what happens,” said Laber, who has played in six seasons with the RedHawks.

Penprase, who has played seven seasons with F-M, is also unsure of his future.

“Every year prior to this season I’ve been positive I’m going to come back next year,” Penprase said. “This is year is one of those years I tell everybody, ‘I’m thinking about it.’ ”


ab r h bi ab r h bi

Tinoco rf 4 0 0 0 Salerno ss 4 1 2 1

Jones dh 4 0 1 0 Brqun 3b 4 0 0 0

Kb-Jns 1b 3 0 1 0 Jcksn cf 5 0 2 2

Duffy lf 4 0 0 0 Rthrfrd 2b 3 1 1 0

Mndz 3b 4 0 0 0 Tripp rf 1 1 0 1

Vlncia cf 4 0 0 0 Higgs c 4 1 2 0

Brnca ss 3 0 1 0 Thpsn 1b 4 1 2 2

Dultz c 3 0 1 0 Pnprs dh 3 1 1 1

Frney 2b 3 0 0 0 Kskddn lf 2 1 0 0

Totals 32 0 4 0 Totals 30 7 10 7

SF 000 000 000–0 4 0

FM 100 400 02x–7 10 1

2B–Retherford (30), Thompson (6). 3B–Jackson (2).SB–Salerno (3), Jackson (8). HP–Tripp (8), Kaskadden 2 (3). SF–Salerno (1), Penprase (1). LOB–SF 6, FM 9. E–Kaskadden (6). DP–SF 2.



Wickswat, L 4 6 5 5 3 3

Boruff 1 0 0 0 1 1

Giles 1 0 0 0 0 1

Testa 1 1 0 0 1 1

DeRatt 1 2 2 2 0 1



Laber, W 8 4 0 0 1 7

Woods 1 0 0 0 0 1

Umpires–Home: Folski. First: Frame. Third: Childe. Time–2:30. A–3,782.


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