May 31st, WILLMAR, MN – Steven Brault (Regis) made an immediate impact in his first start off the mound and three others combined for another solid night of pitching. This time, however, the Stingers’ pitchers had to rely on their craftiness and cool-under-pressure to escape jams throughout the game, but eventually the Waterloo Bucks (2-1) had enough of a breakthrough to claim a 2-1 victory at Bill Taunton Stadium.
1,385 fans came out for Replica Jersey Giveaway Night presented by Cash Wise Foods and the Western Central Tribune. The jerseys, embroidered with the number 13 to signify the 2013 season, could have led some to think that it was Steven Brault night; and following his first-inning triple, maybe it should have been.
Brault scored on the next at-bat, a single to left by Marc Flores to give Willmar (2-1) the first run of the game. Flores’ (Hawaii) RBI was his fourth of the season, but it would be the last run that the Stingers scored.
With limited support, the pitching debuts of Tyler Hamer, Bobby McCormack (Baylor) and Bret Dahlson(Loyola Marymount) though good, were not enough to lift Willmar to a perfect opening home stand. Hamer (Des Moines Area CC) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, turning a 1-2-3 double play to escape the inning. McCormack, too, had to come up with an out at a crucial moment. Upon replacing Hamer in the top of the sixth, McCormack inherited the bases chock full of Bucks, but notched a strikeout to extinguish the threat.
The Stingers now set their sights toward a four-game road trip that begins Saturday in Thunder Bay, ON, CA. After the two game set, Willmar moves on to face the Rochester Honkers before returning to Bill Taunton Stadium Wednesday against Thunder Bay.