Dexter Price hasn’t been in La Crosse long, but he likes what he sees and doesn’t want to leave anytime soon.
If he keeps swinging the bat like he did Saturday night, he won’t have to.
Price delivered a two-strike, two-out RBI single in the first inning and hit his second home run of the young season in the third as the La Crosse Loggers opened a six-game homestand with a 5-2 victory over the Green Bay Bullfrogs in front of 2,819 spectators at Copeland Park.
“I like it here,” said Price, who had nine home runs this spring as a junior infielder for Alabama State and is one of seven players in La Crosse on
temporary contracts. “It’s fun.”
With the Loggers (6-5), Price is batting .256 with six RBI and a team-best .806 OPS (on base plus slugging).
“He’s a great kid,” first-year Loggers manager Jason Nell said. “He works extremely hard.”
And he gave his club the early lead Saturday night.
After watching his team fall behind twice in two losses against the Lakeshore Chinooks, Nell made it clear he wanted a better start against the Bullfrogs (4-6). The Loggers appeared to have done that when center fielder Johnny Bekakis doubled in the first and came around to score on a throwing error by Green Bay catcher Mitch Ghelfi, a Central High School graduate.
But home plate umpire Mike Hains ruled he interfered with the play, sending Bekakis back to second and taking a run off the board.
“It was early,” Price said. “It didn’t go our way, but we got there eventually.”
That’s because Price got a hold of a 3-2 curveball and dumped it into left field to score Bekakis. Shortstop Brandon DeFazio followed with another two-out RBI single and La Crosse had an early 2-0 lead.
“It helps us,” Price said. “We build off that.”
In the third inning, Price homered to center field. An inning later, second baseman Kevin Zak (Grand Valley State), smacked a two-run homer to left-center for a 5-0 lead.
“The wind was blowing in a bit,” Nell said. “But I was more impressed that they got in their count and did something with one pitch. We stressed that before the game.”
The support was more than enough for starting pitcher Collin Monsour (California), who turned in his second strong start of the season. Monsour (2-0) struck out seven and pitched into the seventh without allowing a run for the second time this season.
The only runs allowed by La Crosse came off the bat of Ghelfi, who hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning. Ghelfi, whose older brother Drew was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 25th round of the MLB draft, is hitting .292 with five RBI and two home runs.
Jimmy Coady, an Aquinas High School graduate, also started for Green Bay and was 0-for-4 but scored on Ghelfi’s home run.