By Connor Wachtel
Mankato, Minn. – The MoonDogs dropped another game to the Stingers tonight as their comeback effort came up just short in a 5-4 final. Lackluster fielding and inefficient clutch hitting took its toll on Mankato’s offense throughout the game.
BOX SCORE: Willmar, 5, Mankato 4
Willmar’s Patrick Bordewick (Concordia St. Paul) got the scoring started in the second for the Stingers with an RBI single that drove in two for an early 2-0 lead.
The MoonDogs cut the lead in half in the third inning when Taylor Jackson (Kirkwood CC) drove in Jacob Sniffin (Hawaii) with a single, making it a 2-1 game.
Mankato evened the score in the fourth frame at 2-2 when Sky-lar Culver reached on a fielder’s choice play, scoring Peter Brookshaw (North Dakota State) from third to tie the game.
Willmar pulled ahead in the fifth scoring three runs on two hits and an error. Again, it was Bordewick on offense as he scored the go ahead run. Following it up was the catcher, Chase Stanke (Minnesota), roping a two-RBI single. Willmar finished the top half with a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, it was the MoonDogs turn to produce. The new guy, Jackson struck again with another RBI single. This time it was Cole Pengilly (Gustavus Adolphus) scoring on the play to decrease the deficit to 5-3.
Another run for the MoonDogs in the sixth brought them within one. It was Tanner Craig (Evansville) scoring on the play with Sniffin taking the RBI via a sacrifice fly on the play.
The ninth inning saw James Gargano (Butler) pinch hit to lead off the inning. After being hit by a pitch, a putout and a pass ball left Gargano eventually finding himself 90 feet from home with only one out. Unfortunately, Mankato would strike out in back-to-back at bats and drop their third game of the season 5-4.
Jackson led the way in his first game as a MoonDog with a 2-4 night, he drove in two runs.
Stinger’s starter Jack Zigan (Minnesota State) was handed the no decision after going 4 innings, allowing a pair of runs, hits walks and one striking out one batter, Earning the win was Stinger’s relief pitcher Bradley Kinsey (Pittsburg State) who went 1.1 innings, giving up three hits while allowing two runs and two walks and retiring one with a strikeout along the way. He was relieved by Jake Marsh (Bethel) who went to throw 2.2 innings where he surrendered a pair of hits, a walk and a strikeout. Austin Reich (Northwestern State) came in to begin the ninth and took home the save striking out two batters.
MoonDog’s right-hander Jimmy Larson (Minnesota State) was handed the loss after going 4.2 innings and allowing four hits and five runs, two of which were earned. Jacob Nagel relieved Larson in a jam during the fifth. He went four innings allowing a hit with four strikeouts and three walks. Alex Dorethy (Western Illinois) got the final out in the ninth.
Due up for the Dogs:
The MoonDogs (0-3) will hit the road and play Willmar (3-0) in the final game of this week’s home and home four-game series with the Stingers. Tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar, Minn.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 25-year old summer collegiate 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, 225 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG), World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS) and MLB All-Stars Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.