WILLMAR, Minn. – Willmar scored six unanswered runs in the final three innings to come within two, 10-8, with the tying run on second and the winning run on first, but the Stingers attempt to come back from an eight-run deficit ended there at Bill Taunton Stadium Thursday night in a 10-8 defeat to the Thunder Bay Border Cats.
The Stingers posted a season-high 16 hits, led by a 3-for-4 performance by Rob Elliott (Bradley), but they stranded 12 men on base in the game. Eduardo Gonzalez (Alcorn State) also had a three-hit game, while Garrett Borba (Pacific) was 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs and a run after entering as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Jason Leblebijian (Bradley) contributed a run and two RBIs on a 2-for-5 day at the plate, and Mitch Delfino (California) was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in his 2011 debut for the Stingers.
Willmar had the early advantage in the game after RBI doubles by Leblebijian and Pat Stover (Santa Clara) gave the Stingers a 2-1 lead in the first inning. However, Thunder Bay came back with six runs on three hits in the top of the second, capped off by a grand slam by Ty Wosleger. The Border Cats added two runs in the fifth and a run in the seventh to stretch their lead to 10-2.
Trailing by eight runs, Elliott led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a single, which was followed by a single by Leblebijian. Gonzalez then singled to score Elliott and make it a seven-run contest. The Stingers then added three runs on two hits in the eighth inning, highlighted by an RBI triple by Borba to score Jarid Scarafiotti (Stephen F. Austin) after Scarafiotti had singled earlier in the frame. The Stingers trailed 10-6 at the end of the eighth inning.
Mitch Rowan (Willamette) led off the inning with a double, and Pat Stover reached on an error. Two batters later, Delfino cranked a double to score Rowan. Scarafiotti walked to load the bases. With two outs in the ninth, Borba hit a single to score Stover to make it a 10-8 ballgame, but Leblebijian was retired to end the game and the Stingers’ come-from-behind attempt.
Willmar will play Thunder Bay at home for the final time Friday night as part of “Green Mill Gift Card Night” presented by the Green Mill. The first 250 adults will receive Green Mill gift cards with various dollar amounts on them. One fan will win the grand prize of a $1,000 gift card. The gates open at 6 p.m. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m.
The 2011 season is presented by Charter.