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Huskies Advance to Title Game

Duluth knocks out Willmar with three-run fourth

Wyatt Kopelman – wmk23@miami.edu

Willmar, Minn. – The four-year wait is over. 

And all it took for the Duluth Huskies to return to the Northwoods League championship was to win at a ballpark they had yet to win at all season.

Third baseman Devin Hurdle hit his fourth home run of the season early, and Duluth relied on a three-run fourth inning to defeat the Willmar Stingers, 5-3, and win the 2022 Great Plains Tuesday night at Bill Taunton Stadium. 

Hurdle later added an RBI single to ignite the Huskies’ surge in the fourth. Center fielder Cam Frederick, now 2-for-4 in each of the past two contests, added an RBI single prior to a sacrifice fly from right fielder Jack Painter.

Despite relinquishing each of Willmar’s three runs, right-handed starter Alex Potter totaled a season-high six strikeouts in 5 ⅔ innings. 

Potter escaped a jam in the fifth, stranding runners on the corners following a one-out triple.

Three different Huskies batters logged multi-hit outings as part of Duluth’s most hits in a playoff setting across its three contests.

Neither team scored in the contest’s final four frames, meanwhile.

Duluth (37-33) moved to 28-6 when leading after six innings.

Once Duluth’s bullpen filled Potter, Tyler Moniz Witten extended a scoreless streak to 2 ⅓ innings. The right-handed freshman was relieved in the eighth, leading right-hander Jake Schelonka into a third straight shutout appearance.

Earning only three walks, Willmar (29-8) left nine baserunners stranded.

In the ninth, the Huskies turned to right-handed closer Isaiah Piscitello, who allowed two hits to five batters. The freshman of Bryant & Stratton has held opponents scoreless in each of his seven bullpen outings since July 31.  

Potter (2-0) was credited with the victory, while Willmar’s Steven Brooks (4-1) was tagged with the loss on five runs allowed in 3 2/3 innings.

Up next, Duluth will face the winner of the Great Lakes championship matchup between the Kalamazoo Growlers and the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in the Northwoods League . A loss to the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders in 2018 prevented the Huskies’ first-ever Northwoods League title. 

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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.