Barring an epic collapse, the St. Cloud Rox will have home field throughout the 2021 Northwoods League Playoffs beginning in 12 days. On Monday night at historic Carson Park, however, their six-game win streak ended after the Eau Claire Express rallied in the bottom of the 9th for an 11-10 win in front of 1,454 fans. The Rox still sit 19-6 in the second half, five clear of second place Mankato in the Great Plains West Division, with an overall 43-14 mark. The all-time best Northwoods League record for any team is 54-18, so a 51-17 tally does the trick in this 68-game summer. St. Cloud needs eight wins in its final11 contests to achieve that. On a gorgeous summer in evening in western Wisconsin, the Rox scored three times in the first, before and Eau Claire tallied four off Trent Schoeberl, who lasted only one inning. A back-and-forth affair ensued until Otto Kemp and Bobby Goodloe stroked two-run singles in the sixth inning for a 9-6 St. Cloud lead.
Ethan Waterman singles during his first game with Saint Cloud. It was also a big night for Easton Waterman. The Point Loma Nazarene catcher had three hits in his St. Cloud debut, including a solo home run in the seventh inning.
The Rox resume their campaign Wednesday in Eau Claire. At 12-13 in the second half, the Express sit tied with Duluth and just a half-game behind Waterloo in the Great Plains East.
Hank Aaron played his first professional baseball game in Eau Claire nearly 70 years ago.