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MoonDogs Complete Home-and-Home Sweep of Stingers in Saturday Slugfest at The Frank

By: Connor Wachtel

Mankato, Minn. — The Mankato MoonDogs and Willmar Stingers slugged it out at Franklin Rogers Park, Saturday night. The host MoonDogs won the battle, 6-5, amidst five lead changes in the early going.

Between the third and fifth innings was where all the scoring occurred, the MoonDogs and Stingers took turns scoring 11 runs. The lead changed five different times as Mankato prevailed to win, 6-5.

Willmar’s Brennan McKenzie put the Stingers on the board first with a solo home run to left in the third. The Stingers held the 1-0 advantage until the bottom half of the inning.

The MoonDogs tied the game in the bottom half of the third when Adam LaRock grounded out to short deep enough to tie the game at one. In the next at bat, Michael Curialle singled to score Mikey Gottschalk. The score was 2-1 through three at Franklin Rogers Park.

 

MoonDogs recent newcomers, Tommy Beres and Mikey Gottschalk, each had a big night, Saturday, for a combined 5-8 with two puns scored, an RBI and a walk. (Image captured by Mansoor Ahmad)

 

The MoonDogs and Stingers traded a run a side in the fourth. After Willmar scored to tie the game at two in the top half of the fourth, Mankato responded with a run of their own in the bottom half. Tommy Beres kept his hot bat going and roped a single to score, former Willmar Stinger in 2018, Jack Waletich, who had fun being a menace to his old squad, Saturday. It was a 3-2 game after the fourth with the home team, MoonDogs holding the one-run lead.

The fifth inning followed the same trend but with a trio of runs going to each side. After the Stingers scored three times to take a 5-3 lead, The MoonDogs went on to score three of their own and reclaimed the lead, 6-5. An infield single from Drew Stahl brought the MoonDogs within one, 5-4. Waletich supplied the go-ahead hit, a base knock just over the head of Willmar’s jumping shortstop. Then, MoonDogs catcher, Beres kept clutch hitting coming with another RBI single. Mankato had a 6-5 lead through five at The Frank.

 

Drew Stahl and Michael Curialle rejoice amidst the MoonDogs fifth-inning surge at Franklin Rogers Park, Saturday. (Image captured by Mansoor Ahmad)

 

Ultimately, the MoonDogs would hold on for their 17th win of the season. Mankato and Willmar each had 10 hits on the night. The Stingers lost in the errors department with the game’s only miscue defensively.

 

 

Christian Johnson (1-1) made his first appearance as the MoonDogs’ starting arm, Saturday. The everyday reliever from Gustavus Adolphus College, pitched five innings en route to his first win. Johnson allowed eight hits for five runs. He walked two while striking out six. In relief, Nolan Pender made his final appearance of the 2020 campaign and pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball. The Bellarmine University right hander struck out a pair while working into the ninth inning. Andre Granillo came in from the pen to get the final two outs of the game for his second save of the summer with a pair of strikeouts.

 

 

Willmar’s losing pitcher was Trevor Divinski (0-2) after he went 4.2 innings and allowed six runs. While walking one and striking out five others, Divinski was hit off nine times, Saturday.

For tonight’s box score click HERE.

Up next, the Mankato MoonDogs (16-20) are headed to Joe Faber Field to take on the St. Cloud Rox (23-12) tomorrow at 4:05 p.m.

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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.