Sergent, RedHawks looking to clinch title

Richard Austin was being interviewed by a local TV station after the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks' Game 2 victory Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

Richard Austin was being interviewed by a local TV station after the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks' Game 2 victory Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

RedHawks pitcher Joe Sergent - the team's resident jokester - snuck up behind Austin and planted a shaving cream pie in the face of the all-star right fielder.

Sergent will have a less jovial mindset today at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind., when he takes the mound at 7 p.m. for Game 3 of the Northern League championship series.

With a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series, the RedHawks have a chance to clinch the Northern League championship with a victory.

"When he's on the field, there is no joking in him," RedHawks shortstop Bryon Jeffcoat said. "He'll show up ready to pitch."


The Gary SouthShore RailCats - expected to start left-hander Cody Fisher in Game 3 - need three straight home victories to prevent the RedHawks from winning their third Northern League title and second in the past three seasons.

The RedHawks lost three in a row to a team twice this season, once at St. Paul and once at Calgary.

"Down 2-0, it's not impossible," Gary manager Greg Tagert said after Game 2. "If any club has a chance to do it, I will take my chances with this ball club right here. We're capable of doing it. What makes it tough is going against a club like Fargo-Moorhead."

Sergent struggled in his first postseason start, lasting just 11/2 innings in a 9-3 Game 3 loss against Lincoln in the first round of the playoffs.

The left-hander allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits in that outing against the Saltdogs.

"I don't even think about it," Sergent said. "The past is the past. I have to worry about what is going on against Gary."

Despite the rough start at Lincoln last Friday, Sergent has proven he can win on the road.

He went 8-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 11 road starts during the regular season. Sergent (13-2, 3.13 ERA in the regular season) is 1-0 against Gary this season with a 0.50 ERA, allowing just one earned run and pitching 18 innings in two starts.


"He goes out there to pitch his game," Jeffcoat said. "You don't win 13 games in a season without being ready."

The RedHawks went 3-0 against Gary in games at U.S. Steel Yard this season. However, all three of those games (3-1, 2-1 and 4-1 scores) were tight low-scoring games.

"I get the first crack at winning this thing for Fargo," Sergent said. "It's a nice feeling."

NOTES: Austin leads the RedHawks in postseason batting average, hitting .435 (10-for-23) in six games. ... RedHawks third baseman Ruben Salazar leads the team with seven RBIs through six playoff games. ... Gary first baseman Ben Risinger leads the RailCats in batting average (.462), home runs (2) and RBIs (9) through seven postseason games. ... The RedHawks won Northern League titles in 1998 and 2003.

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.
What To Read Next
Get Local