By: Mitchell Speltz
Willmar, Minn. — The Mankato MoonDogs (16-20) went into Willmar (19-19) on Friday night and defeated the Stingers 9-7 with many new names in the lineup.
One of the MoonDogs who made their presence known early was Ethan Mocchi who delivered an infield-single in the opening inning to score Drew Stahl, giving Mankato a 1-0 lead.
Willmar would get that run back quickly on an RBI double by Jayson Newman to tie the game at one after the first frame.
The score remained tied until the fourth inning when the Stingers struck for three, courtesy of two home runs. The first one was a two-run homer by Jake Meyer and Griffin Cheney would follow that with a solo blast to make it 4-1 after four.
The MoonDogs would then come through with one of their best innings of the season in the sixth when they struck for eight runs. It started with Ethan Mocchi plating home another run with an RBI single to make it 4-2. The next batter Blake Schumacher would follow that with a run-producing single of his own to make it a one-run game. The line would continue to move as Tommy Beres shot a double down the line to even the score at four. Mitchell Massino the ensuing batter would then give Mankato the lead 5-4 with his first hit to score Beres from third.
The Dogs weren’t done just yet. With the bases loaded, Adam LaRock dropped a double down the right-field line to score two, increasing the lead to 7-4. The next batter, Jack Waletich would continue the inning by matching LaRock’s two-run double with one of his own to make it 9-4, capping off the eight-run inning where the MoonDogs collected six hits with 12 batters coming to the plate.
A.J. Wood then relieved starter Deylen Miley in the bottom of the sixth where he pitched the next three innings allowing just one run. Andre Granillo came in the game to finish it off in the ninth and he struck out the tying run Jake Meyer to slam the door on the Stingers’ rally, securing the 9-7 victory.
Deylen Miley earned the victory for Mankato, improving to 2-3 on the season. He struck out a season-best eight batters over five innings in his final start of the season.
Mankato will go for their second consecutive sweep of Willmar today when they host the Stingers at Franklin Rogers Park with first pitch set for 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.