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Stingers’ 13 Hits Not Enough in 8-7 Loss at Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – Willmar scored six runs in the first two innings, but only plated one more run the rest of the way in an afternoon contest where the Beetles came from behind to defeat the Stingers, 8-7, at Knute Nelson Memorial Park Wednesday.

The Stingers’ offense looked strong early, picking up two-out RBIs from Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) and Corben Green (Louisiana Monroe) in the first inning to take the initial lead. Suchy ripped a 385-foot double to left-center field to score Forrestt Allday (Central Arkansas) and scored one batter later on a base hit to right field by Green.

The Beetles (13-22) responded, however, with three runs on six hits in their first trip to the plate, including a two-run homer by Ben Moore. After six-straight hits by the Beetles with one out, Alexandria had a 3-2 lead and the bases loaded, but an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play prevented further damage and kept the Stingers within one.

It didn’t take long for Willmar to regain the lead. Following a leadoff single by Kenny Roberts (Alabama), Max Kuhn (Kentucky) hit a two-run homer to center field to put the Stingers back in front, 4-3. Kuhn now has four RBIs in his last two games.

Still in the second inning, Matt Jackson (Washington) reached on a base hit, and two batters later, Mitch Rowan (San Francisco) walked to put two on with two out for Suchy. The league leader in RBIs came through again with a two-run single to give the Stingers a 6-3 lead. Suchy finished the game 2-for-4 with four RBIs to give him 36 for the season.

The Stingers did not score again until the eighth. A three-run homer by Ryan Padilla tied the game with two outs in the fifth, 6-6. In the sixth, Alexandria took the lead for good with a line-drive two-run homer to right-center field by Ben Moore after Matt Lowenstein began the inning with a double. Moore went 2-for-4 in the contest with two home runs and four RBIs to increase his team-leading total to 30.

Willmar threatened in the eighth after Zach Benson (Stephen F. Austin) doubled with one out and scored on an error. The Stingers had the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second base while trailing 8-7, but the next two batters were retired and Willmar went down in order in the ninth.

The Stingers ended the first half of the season with a 20-15 record to finish in second place in the Northwoods League North Division. The 20-15 mark represents the best record by the Stingers in the first half of a season in franchise history.

Brian Kaye (San Diego Mesa) suffered the loss in his debut with the Stingers after surrendering two runs on three hits in one inning of relief. Jacob Cage (Azusa Pacific) lasted two innings in his first start with the team, allowing three runs on eight hits.

Willmar continues its nine-game road swing by heading to Waterloo for a two-game series. First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

The 2012 season is presented by Charter. For more information on your Willmar Stingers be sure to visit the West Central Tribune at www.wctrib.com.