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RedHawks' Mazer drives in game-tying run in 8th

Saturday night Brad Mazer was a groomsman at a wedding in Stillwater, Minn. Sunday afternoon Mazer played best man for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Newman Outdoor Field. Mazer went 4-for-4 and drove in the game-tying run late, helping the RedHa...

Saturday night Brad Mazer was a groomsman at a wedding in Stillwater, Minn.

Sunday afternoon Mazer played best man for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Newman Outdoor Field.

Mazer went 4-for-4 and drove in the game-tying run late, helping the RedHawks earn a 3-2 Northern League victory against the Kansas City T-Bones before 3,669 fans.

"I felt real confident at the plate," Mazer said.

"He looks very comfortable," RedHawks manager Doug Simunic added. "He's not intimidated by a fastball or any other pitch. He can hit with two strikes."

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The RedHawks (12-7 second half, 44-20) moved two games ahead of the T-Bones (10-9, 30-34) in the Western Division second-half standings.

F-M won the last two games of the three-game series with the

T-Bones at Newman, including Sunday's victory. Both wins came in the RedHawks' final at-bat.

"It's big to win close games, especially against a team you're battling for the division lead," Mazer said.

RedHawks shortstop Brian Sprout delivered the game-deciding hit Sunday. He guided a line drive into left field over a drawn-in infield. The hit scored Mike Byas from third base with the winning run with no outs in the ninth inning.

Byas led off the ninth with a walk and advanced to third base after T-Bones third baseman Taber Maier overthrew first base on Joe Mathis' sacrifice bunt attempt. Mathis moved to second on the play.

Mazer set the stage for Sprout's heroics, knotting the score at 2-2 with a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning.

Down 0 balls, 2 strikes in the count with the bases loaded, Mazer chopped the ball down the third-base line. Maier came up with the bouncing ball, but didn't have enough time to make a play on any of the base runners.

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"That last at-bat I kind of got a little bit of luck," Mazer said. "A lot of luck. I barely touched the ball, but I put it in play."

RedHawks starter Matt Burch, who hadn't made a start since May, pitched 5Zc solid innings. The right-hander scattered five hits and allowed two runs, but didn't factor in the decision.

But RedHawks pitching coach Jeff Bittiger like what he saw from the recently signed Burch, who was making his first start and second appearance with F-M.

"He showed me better stuff than he had his first time out," Bittiger said. "He gives us some added depth in our pitching staff. Like a lot of guys who come in here, he wants to be part of this. I like a lot of what I saw today."

NOTES: RedHawks first baseman Toby Rumfield continued his torrid offensive pace. Rumfield went 3-for-4 Sunday and is batting .524 (22-for-42) over the last 11 games. Rumfield is hitting .348 on the season. "He's locked in," RedHawks catcher Brad Mazer said. ... The RedHawks released outfielder Mike Byas after Sunday's game. ... Former RedHawks left fielder Jon Weber is off to a strong start since signing with the Oakland Athletics organization on July 24. Weber is batting .405 with four doubles, three home runs, 15 RBI and 10 runs in nine games with Modesto of the Single-A California League. ... Right-handed pitcher Todd George (5-3, 3.78 ERA) is scheduled to start for the RedHawks today in Sioux City. The Explorers are expected to counter with right-hander Chris Swiatkiewicz (8-6, 3.91 ERA).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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The Black Hawks trailed by two goals with just over six minutes left to play but rallied and upended Fargo in overtime on Saturday.