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Stingers Drop First Playoff Game to Mankato, 10-5

WILLMAR, Minn. – Forrestt Allday’s two doubles and two runs scored at the top of the lineup were not enough for the Stingers, as they fell to the Mankato MoonDogs in their first playoff game in franchise history, 10-5, at Bill Taunton Stadium Monday night.

Willmar’s offense showed signs of life in the fourth inning when the team used three runs on three hits to tie the game, 3-3, but Mankato scored in five of its final six times to the plate to steadily pull away for a 10-5 victory. A two-run homer by Kyle Turner in the fifth broke the 3-3 tie and gave the MoonDogs the lead for good.

Mark Lukowski (Creighton) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on five hits in two innings out of the bullpen. Tanner Banks (Utah) did not factor into the decision after giving up three runs in four innings with three strikeouts. Banks was forced to leave the game after exceeding the Northwoods League’s 35-pitch limit for one inning in the fourth. Kyle Fischer (St. Cloud State) allowed three runs on five hits in two innings, while his twin brother Garrett Fischer (St. Cloud State) allowed the final run in the ninth.

Trailing 3-0 entering the third, Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) hit a one-out single to begin the rally, and Kenny Roberts (Alabama) was hit by a pitch. Max Kuhn (Kentucky) singled to drive home Suchy and put the Stingers on the scoreboard. Hunter Dozier (Stephen F. Austin) doubled to left-center field to drive home Roberts and pull Willmar within one, 3-2. Zach Benson (Stephen F. Austin) grounded out to shortstop to tie the contest, but Turner’s two-run homer the next half-inning swung the momentum back to the MoonDogs.

Down 5-3, Allday (Central Arkansas) led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double and scored three batters later on a ground ball by Suchy. Mankato responded with a run in the sixth to restore its two-run lead, 6-4. The Stingers final run came in the seventh. Allday hit another leadoff double and scored on an RBI single by Mitch Rowan (San Francisco). Mankato expanded its 6-5 lead with three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to claim the five-run victory.

Willmar travels to Mankato Tuesday for Game 2 of the Northwoods League North Division Playoffs. The contest at Franklin Rogers Park will begin at 7:05 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.