MoonDogs Drop Game One With Stingers on Sunday
By Connor Wachtel
Willmar, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs dropped game of two on the road to the Willmar Stingers on Sunday afternoon. The final score stood 10-5 as the Dogs couldn’t keep up with the Stingers offensive consistency.
BOX SCORE: Willmar 10, Mankato 5
The Stingers got the scoring started with a leadoff single from Sam Baier (Augustana) who later came around to score on an infield putout.
The Stingers recorded another in the second when Justin King (Alabama) launched a solo homer run over the left centerfield fence. The round tripper gave Willmar a 2-0 lead after two.
The Stingers kept the runs coming into the third with a pair of doubles, each scoring a run. The Stingers owned a 4-0 lead after three frames.
The MoonDogs made their way onto the scoreboard with a pair of runs from one swing of the bat in the fifth. It was Mikey Perez (UCLA) hitting his first home run of the year. Dayton Dooney (Arizona) scored on the play. The Dogs trailed Willmar 4-2 after the fifth.
Willmar countered the Mankato with a trio of runs in the sixth. An RBI single, sacrifice fly and pass ball each plated a run to extend the Stingers lead to 7-2.
The MoonDogs scored another in the seventh. It was off a single by Justin Mazzone (Seattle), the defensive replacement at catcher, to score Dooney for his second run scored of the game. It was the first at bat for Mazzone and shrunk the deficit to 7-3 as stretching time at Bill Taunton Stadium approached.
The offensively consistent Stingers continued their scoring ways with a pair of insurance runs in the bottom half of the seventh. Willmar held a 9-3 lead after seven frames.
The MoonDogs got more offense going in the eighth. First, it was Dooney roping a single to score Josh Elvir (Angelo State). Perez followed it up with a double in the leftfield gap to record another RBI. The MoonDogs trailed 9-5 after the top half of the eighth.
Willmar hit double digits in the runs category in the eighth. Daniel Walsh (Sacramento City) hit the run in with a single to score Kaden Fowler (Georgia). It gave Willmar a 10-5 lead after eight.
With their backs against the wall and needing five runs to tie, Mankato approached the ninth with a hopeful offensive mindset. However, it would go for none as the MoonDogs fell 10-5 to the Stingers.
The MoonDogs notable offensive performance was turned in by Dooney who hit the cover off the ball. He went 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Earning the win was Willmar’s southpaw Garret Rukes (Alabama) after he went six innings allowing two runs. He struck out four along the way.
On the hill for the MoonDogs to start was Nick Hull (Grand Canyon). Hull went five complete innings and was handed the loss for allowing four runs. Surrendering five hits in the process, he walked three and two strikeouts.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (11-10) head back home to The Frank to play host to the Willmar Stingers (14-7) in game two, the series finale. Mankato’s probable southpaw Brett Newberg (Austin Peay) will deliver the first pitch at 6:35 p.m. The game will be at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato, 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.