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Published On: July 21st, 2013

WILLMAR, MINN.- It took seven pitchers, 19 runs, 17 innings and six hours and twenty-eight minutes to do so, but when the dust finally settled at Bill Taunton Stadium early Monday morning the Mankato MoonDogs were on top, defeating the Willmar Stingers in a game for the record books.

Mankato was able to break a 14-14 stalemate with four runs scored on two hits, four walks, and an error from the Stingers in the top of the 17th inning to finally put them up for good.  Zack Zehner (Cal Poly SLO) stood to be the game-winning run after reaching on a lead-off single, stealing second, and scoring after Josh Fuentes (Saddleback College) was able to reach on a costly error by the Stingers, their seventh of the game.

The MoonDogs were able to add insurance by virtue of a two-RBI single from Woody Woodward (UC Santa Barbara) and when Chase Simpson (Wichita St.) was walked home with the bases loaded, extending their lead to 18-14 heading into the bottom of the frame.

Ryan Quick (Austin Peay St. University) was able to shut down the Stingers to pick up the win (1-0), throwing the last of his three shutout innings after entering the game in the 15th, giving up only two hits and striking out four.

While Willmar was unable to tie the game in the 17th, they twice rallied with their backs against the wall to extend the ballgame.  After Mankato took a 13-9 lead into the bottom of the ninth, the Stingers exploded for four runs, sending the game into extra innings.  The comeback marked the second straight shaky appearance for MoonDogs’ All-Star closer Jess Amedee (UT-Arlington), as he allowed two hits, threw three wild pitches, and walked two before turning the side- getting charged for two earned runs.

The Stingers responded once again after a John Michael Twichell (UT-Arlington) RBI single in the 14th spotted the MoonDogs a brief 14-13 lead.  Danny Brennon (St. Louis University) tied the game after Marc Flores (Hawaii) knocked a double on Bryan Bonnell (UNLV).

Bonnell was brilliant in the extra frames, throwing five innings while stringing out five hits allowing one earned run and striking out three.

While the ending of the game was memorable, the beginning of the contest was just as hectic.  Over the first five innings, the lead changed hands five different times, beginning after the Stingers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first to when Mankato pulled ahead 13-9 after a five-run fifth inning, a lead which they held onto until the ninth inning.

The game marked another big night for the MoonDogs&rsquo offense, as they amassed 19 hits in the victory. Quinnton Mack paced the squad with four hits and an RBI, and Zehner and Twichell each added three hits and three RBIs.  Woodward, Simpson, Matt Jones (Southern Illinois) and Tim Arakawa (Oklahoma St.) each added a pair of RBIs in the marathon game that saw 84 at-bats for Mankato.

Perhaps lost in the extra innings was the sheer magnitude of the game for the MoonDogs, who are still chasing the Stingers in the overall standings which can decide the second North Division Playoff berth if Waterloo can hold on to their lead in the Second Half standings.  The win brings Mankato within two and a half games of the Stingers in the overall standings, and finds them three and a half back of Waterloo in the Second Half standings where the sit tied with St. Cloud.  Mankato takes the season series with Willmar 6-4 and now set their sights on the All-Star break and the huge series that awaits them afterward with the Bucks.

After the All-Star game on Tuesday the MoonDogs host Waterloo for the first two of their pivotal three-game series, game one taking place Thursday at 7:05 p.m.  The famed Russian Bar Trio is set to return to Franklin Rogers Park on Thursday after thrilling Mankato fans last summer.

A special good luck goes to the six MoonDogs who will represent Mankato on Tuesday at the 2013 Northwoods League All-Star Game; Cameron Giannini, Jess Amedee, Tim Arakawa, Jonathan Rodriguez, Matt Wollenzin and Chase Simpson.

Great seats are available to all remaining home games, on sale at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street in Mankato, as well as over the phone at 507-625-7047.  To stay up to date, Like the MoonDogs on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter (@MoonDogsBall), or visit the website at