By: Connor Wachtel
Willmar, Minn. — The Willmar Stingers completed their two-game sweep of the Mankato MoonDogs with a 5-4 win in Willmar Thursday.
Brooks Lee supplied the Stingers game-winning at bat, with a pinch-hit single to score Deylan Pigford in the bottom of the eighth. It gave Willmar a 5-4 lead that they closed the door on in the ninth.
The Stingers took an early, 2-0, lead in the first inning. An RBI single from Brennan McKenzie and double by Cesar Lopez scored the runs.
Making his MoonDogs debut, Dew Stahl made his presence felt in his first plate appearance with a single to score Jake Thompson in the second inning. However, it wasn’t long before the Stingers countered. In the bottom half, a sacrifice fly restored their two-run advantage, 3-1.
Griffin Cheney padded the Stingers lead with another run scored on a Tyler Wilber sacrifice fly in the fourth that made it 4-1 Stingers.
Then, the Dogs scored three consecutive runs to tie the game, 4-4. Danny Borgstrom and Michael Curialle had RBIs in the fifth to bring the Dogs within one. In the sixth, Dylan Phillips tied the game with a double down the right field line to score his Kansas State teammate, Zach Kokoska.
Lee’s pinch-hit heroics put the Stingers up one in the eighth and Jonathan Brand earned his first save of the summer for Willmar in the ninth. It sealed the series sweep for the Stingers with a 5-4 victory in the series’ second game.
It was close game in Willmar, Thursday. The Stingers edged the MoonDogs in hits, 12-10, and were slightly better defensively, with one error to Mankato’s two.
Stinger reliever, Landon Green, got his first win of the season. He pitched a perfect eighth for the Stingers to get them hitting where they took the lead in the bottom half and ultimately won it in the ninth.
Jared Milch started his fourth game on the hill for the MoonDogs Thursday. The southpaw from Stony Brook University went six complete innings. Milch gave up nine hits and four runs while walking one and striking out three. In relief, Andre Granillo made his third appearance of the summer and pitched the next two frames. In the eighth, Granillo allowed the run that won it for the Stingers
For tonight’s box score click HERE.
The Mankato MoonDogs (10-15) begin a new two-game series in Iowa against the Waterloo Bucks (16-8) tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m.
The Mankato MoonDogs 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’ 26th 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 230 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 (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.mankatomoondogs.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.