Loggers fall 8-6 to Stingers
La Crosse, WI – The La Crosse Loggers dropped the opener of a two game set by a score of 8-6 against the Willmar Stingers on Saturday night. The Loggers fall to 20-10 in the second half, but remain just a half-game back of first place as both Duluth and Mankato lost on Saturday, moving the Stingers and Huskies into a tie for the North Division lead.
Willmar scored a run in the opening frame on an RBI single off of Loggers starter Ted Stuka (UC-San Diego) as heavy rain came down at Copeland Park. The game would enter a weather delay in the middle of the first inning, and resumed 40 minutes later in front of 2,446 fans.
The Loggers took the lead in the bottom of the third inning, scoring three runs to make it 3-1. A pair of RBI singles from Austin Murr (DMACC) and Kyson Donahue (Arizona) gave the Lumbermen the lead and an RBI ground out from Bryce Blaum (Texas A&M) pushed across the third run.
The Stingers would answer with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, tying the game 3-3. A solo home run from Eli Wilson started the inning and a balk allowed the second run of the inning before Stuka stranded two runners in scoring position to conserve the tie game. Willmar would score five in the fifth, however, on a pair of bases loaded walks and three softly hit singles that found grass in front of the Loggers defense.
With the score 8-3, La Crosse rallied for three runs in the home half of the sixth on a two-RBI single from Harrison Freed (Butler) followed by an RBI double from Mike Rothenberg (Duke). The Loggers bullpen held the Stingers scoreless for the remainder of the game as Tyler Bujanowski (McHenry CC) and John Beuckeleare (Madonna) combined for 2.2 innings of relief allowing just one hit. Beuckeleare did not surrender a base runner and struck out three in his second appearance of the season.
The Loggers could not complete the comeback, falling 8-6 to snap a five game winning streak. La Crosse was led offensively by Donahue, Murr, and Rothenberg who each had two-hit performances. The same two teams will go to battle again Sunday evening with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 PM at the Lumberyard. The Loggers (37-28 overall, 20-10 second half) sit a half-game back of the second half division title and two games back of the final wild card spot with seven games remaining in the 2018 season.