Grand Forks' Brock Reller powers Fremont to split with Whiskey Jacks
Jun. 25—After sitting the first game of a doubleheader Thursday, Fremont slugger Brock Reller, a former Grand Forks Central and Grand Forks Royals standout, made up for any lost time in the nightcap.
In Reller's second at-bat of the second game, his liner hit the umpire near the pitcher's mound. That was the only way Reller was kept in the infield the rest of the way.
He hit a towering home run and two doubles to go along with the early single off the umpire as the Moo beat the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks 11-2 after falling 7-6 in a doubleheader of Expedition League baseball at Kraft Field.
"We were pretty fortunate in the first game that (Reller) had the game off, so we didn't have to worry about him there," Whiskey Jacks coach Robby Laughlin said. "To be honest, him flying one over the wall in Game 2 was just probably bound to happen. Brock's a really good hitter and plays at a pretty high level, so you know it's bound to happen that he's going to take advantage of a mistake by a pitcher."
Reller's league-leading eighth home run of the season was a massive blast that went far over the right-field fence. That gave the Moo a 6-1 lead in the fourth. In the sixth, his laser double made it 7-1.
"I came into this series on a little bit of a low, but in the third game (of the series) I just focused on putting the bat on the ball," Reller said.
Reller said he hasn't played at Kraft Field in about five years but his most recent home run might have been his longest at his home park.
"That was a pretty deep one for me," Reller said. "It was great to be back again. To finish off the series like that, the seven-hour road trip back shouldn't be too bad."
Despite the rocky finish to the series for the Whiskey Jacks, the matchups against the Moo went well, taking two of three.
"Fremont coming in is arguably the best team in our league," Laughlin said. "They have a very potent offense. For them to come to our place and take two of three was pretty awesome. It was unfortunate that we laid an egg in Game 3. It was a little lack of focus and getting ahead of ourselves after taking the first two."
Wheat City scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to win the first game after falling behind 4-0 through one inning.
After Wheat City's starting pitcher surrendered four runs in the first, Matthew Dalquist, an incoming freshman at San Diego, took over the final six innings to pick up the win.
"He was absolute nails for us," Laughlin said. "He definitely exceeded our expectations, for sure."
Rhett Stein went 2-for-2 with three runs, while Dean Bittner was 2-for-3 with two runs and Nolan Lingley was 2-for-3 with four runs batted in.
The Whiskey Jacks now travel to Pierre, S.D., to play the Trappers for a three-game series beginning Friday.