Tremendous Comeback Falls Short Against Stingers


(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (16-16) dropped the series opener, 11-9, to the Willmar Stingers (17-16) Saturday night at Mayo Field. The Honkers scored seven runs in the final four innings after originally trailing 10-2. Ethan Ibarra (St. Cloud State) drove in three runs tonight on two hits. Zach Zubia (Texas) extended his on-base streak to 32 games with his fourth consecutive two-hit performance.

The Honkers jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning on a passed ball, scoring Morgan McCullough (Oregon) from third base.  

Willmar responded by loading the bases with one out to start the top of the second inning. Tyler Reichenborn (Iowa Western) doubled to center field, scoring all three runners. Reichenborn scored in the next at-bat on a sacrifice fly by Brady Shockey (USC).

Ibarra brought in another run for the Honkers in the bottom of the second inning, scoring Garrett Calvert (Cypress).

The Stingers poured on four more runs in the top of the third inning on a two-RBI double by Nate Sterijevski (Bethune-Cookman). Willmar brought in two more runs in the inning on two groundouts.

Luke Becker (Kentucky) extended the Willmar lead to eight runs with a two-run home run in the fourth inning.

Willmar starting pitcher, Cameron Churchill (Nova Southeastern), pitched three scoreless innings after giving up two runs in the first two innings, but could not get out of the sixth inning. The first three Honkers reached base to start the inning, ending the day for Churchill. The Stingers reliever, Myles Smith (Georgia Gwinett), walked Weston Hatten (Nevada) with the bases loaded, scoring Zeke Pinkham (Louisville). Zubia followed with an RBI single to left, scoring Michael Michalak (DMACC).

Ibarra continued the Rochester comeback, driving two more runs in on a one-out double to center field.

The Flock made a serious threat to the lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, still trailing 11-7. Hatten set up the inning with a double with one out in the inning. He scored three batters later on an error by the Willmar shortstop. Konnor Zickefoose (UC Irvine) pulled the Honkers within two runs on a single to center field, but that would be as far as the Flock would get.

Churchill earned the win (1-2) for the Stingers. He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out nine batters and walking four.

Ryan Thompson (Illinois) took the loss (1-3) for the Honkers. He pitched three innings, giving up eight runs on five hits while striking out four batters and walking five.

The Honkers rematch against the Willmar Stingers tomorrow, July 2, at Mayo Field. First pitch Sunday is 1:05 p.m. Gates open at noon. It is Slider’s Kids Club Day at the ballpark. Kids eat free at on the Sports Deck and can run the bases after the game. It is also the final game in the Bob the Bug Man “Swatter Series.” Drew Slade (Ripon) is scheduled to start for the Honkers. Slade is 3-0 this season with a 7.04 ERA. Polo Portela (Sacramento City) is scheduled to pitch for the Stingers. Portela is 3-1 this season without giving up an earned run in 26.2 innings.

Box Score


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