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All-Star Varland Deals, Defeats St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Gus Varland (Concordia-St. Paul) was only used for four innings tonight in order to preserve his arm for the bigger picture: he will pitch in the All-Star Game this upcoming Tuesday with the league-leading ERA of 1.04. 

While on the mound in St. Cloud tonight, he only allowed two hits in four innings, holding the Rox scoreless and lifting the Stingers to a 6-2 victory, their seventh of the second half.

As Varland exited the game, he was relieved by Kale Latorre (Montevallo), Connor Herd (Mercer), and Calvin Coker (Auburn). The foursome compiled 11 strikeouts on the mound tonight, getting seven of nine batters in the Rox' lineup down on strikes at least one time. 

At the plate, the Stingers were led by Brady Shockey (USC), who drove in three of the six Willmar runs. In the third inning, he hit his first home run of the season over the right field wall to drive in two and give the Stingers a 3-0 lead. 

Two innings later, he drove in Caleb Ledbetter (Montevallo) with a sacrifice fly into center field. 

As a team, the Stingers had only five hits but were able to clean up the bases when necessary, only leaving four runners on in the evening. They capitalized upon four St. Cloud errors in the field, winning their second game against the Rox this season.

Today's Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Gus Varland. CDI is your local medical imaging provider. It’s your choice where you go for medical imaging, for MRI, CT, mammograms and pain injections, choose CDI. Visit online at myCDI.com/CentralMN.

Varland moved down to a 1.04 ERA, which now leads the Northwoods League among starting pitchers. In addition, his .168 opposing batting average is second among starters in the Northwoods League, only behind teammate and fellow All-Star Polo Portela (Sac City). 

The Stingers move to 7-4 on the second half and 25-22 overall. Tomorrow, they finish the two-game series with St. Cloud before the beginning of the All-Star Break on Monday. Joe Vranesic (Kent State) is slated to start tomorrow to generate momentum leading into the break. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. and you can listen live at WillmarStingers.com.  

The 2017 Stingers season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers, visit the West Central Tribune online at www.wctrib.com.