After the first three exhibition games to start the summer, some members of the Faribault Lakers were worried about scuffling performances at the plate entering Sunday’s regular-season opener.
Luckily for those Faribault’s hitters, that game was at the St. Benedict Saints — where slumps go to die.
The Lakers ended up on the right side of a 21-11 slugfest against the Saints to pick up a win in both teams’ first Dakota-Rice-Scott League game of the season.
“We were not very good offensively in our three exhibition games we had, and it was kind of an eye-opener for some guys,” Faribault manager Charlie Lechtenberg said. “Anytime you play at St. Benedict weird stuff happens at their field. It’s always an interesting day when you go an play there.”
With bandbox dimensions highlighted by the 300 feet to the outfield fence down the left field line, 341 feet to center and only 241 feet (with a 30-foot wall) down the right field line, Faribault was able to stack up five home runs in the contest.
Dylan Valentyn homered twice in addition to a double to help him tally eight RBIs, while Joe Grote, Matt Lane and Jake Stocker all smashed one home run apiece and the Lakers tallied a total of 16 hits.
“He’s been hitting really well for us,” Lechtenberg said of Valentyn. “He’s been one of the bright spots, and everybody yesterday was hitting the ball, but Dylan’s had a monster day.”
Faribault (1-0 DRS) will play another exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bell Field against the visiting St. Paul Hops, before resuming its DRS League schedule at 2 p.m. Sunday with a home game against the New Prague Orioles (0-0 DRS).
While the Lakers won’t play at St. Benedict again this season, Lechtenberg hopes the barrage of runs helps knock the rust off for the rest of the season.
“It’s such a weird year with not really starting until almost July,” Lechtenberg said. “Guys weren’t really sure if we were going to get going and then we did, and we only got three exhibition games in the middle of June. Everyone’s in the same boat, it’s just a crazy year. It was definitely a relief to score some runs since we didn’t score very many in the three exhibition games we had. It’s good to see guys have some better at-bats, put the ball in play and hit the ball.”