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Duluth Drops Series Opener to Willmar

Willmar works around Duluth’s grand slam and 13 hits

Wyatt Kopelman – wmk23@miami.edu

Duluth, Minn. – Not even a third grand slam at home was enough. 

Right fielder Joe Vos hit his first grand slam of the season, but the Willmar Stingers responded late to hold off the Duluth Huskies, 7-5, at Wade Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Despite squandering an early two-run lead, Willmar relied on a four-run seventh inning to take the contest’s final lead and its first postseason berth since 2019.

With the bases loaded, Stingers third baseman Zac Corbin hit an RBI single and right fielder Joey Walls added a sacrifice fly. Designated hitter Drey Dirksen capped off the rally with a two-run double, moving Willmar ahead, 7-4. 

The Huskies (12-15) scored one run after Vos’ grand slam in the fourth, only helping the Stingers (23-4) to their 42nd win in 54 games.

Ten Duluth base runners were left stranded, while Willmar’s order only struck out three times.

Willmar has earned three straight wins, tallying 44 combined runs scored across the contests. 

Caden Edwards (1-2) was tacked with the loss, while Stingers starter Seth Miller (1-0) garnered his first win. Miller surrendered four earned runs on nine hits throughout six innings, nonetheless.

Relying on 5 ⅔ innings from right-handed starter Drew Conn in his second starting nod, Duluth turned to right-hander JD McReynolds. The Central Missouri product, similarly to Conn, allowed three runs. 

Edwards and right-hander Devin Dodson teamed up for the final three frames, keeping the Stingers to one run and four hits. 

Willmar has won three straight games in the season series, despite dropping the first two in Duluth for a 1-5 start to the season. 

Falling to the Stingers at home for the first time this season, the Huskies will look to split the series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m. 

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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 28th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff, over 280 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. For more information, visit www.duluthhuskies.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Huskies as your favorite team.