After falling behind 4-0 early, the Willmar Stingers scored six unanswered runs in the final four innings to claim a 6-4 victory over the Thunder Bay Border Cats in the 2011 Home Opener Presented by Christianson & Associates.
Willmar’s big inning came in the eighth when the team scored three runs on five hits to take a decisive 6-4 lead after scoring single runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh frames. John Haberman put the Stingers ahead for good with an RBI-single to score Jason Leblebijian. Haberman’s base hit came directly after Jake Stinnett tied the game with an RBI-groundout. Mitch Rowan added an insurance run with an RBI single to score Sean Dwyer. Dwyer starred in the game with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, including an RBI and a run scored.
Willmar picked up its first run of the 2011 season in the fifth inning on RBI single by Anthony Hincy, which scored Rowan from second base after he moved into scoring position on the first of his two steals in the game. Hincy finished the game 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. The Stingers added tallies in the sixth and seventh innings on RBI singles by Dwyer and Jordan Smith, respectively.
Thomas Taylor began the game for the Stingers, striking out five while allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Tanner Banks came in relief to earn the victory, striking out six batters in 2 2/3 innings without relinquishing a single hit. Scott Zuloaga picked up his first save by pitching a scoreless ninth.
Willmar will play its second game of the season Thursday against Thunder Bay beginning at 7:05 p.m. The first 250 adults will receive an umbrella presented by Hansen Advertising. The Stingers will then wrap up the series against the Border Cats with Baseball Cap Night presented by Heritage Bank Friday, June 3 at 7:05 p.m., before beginning a four-game road trip.