WILLMAR, Minn. – Heavy rain and strong winds forced the contest between the Willmar Stingers and the Duluth Huskies to end in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Stingers leading 7-4.
Willmar scored in four of its five times to the plate and never trailed after a three-run first inning gave the Stingers a 3-1 lead. With the victory, Willmar (17-10) restored its 2.5 game lead over Duluth (15-13) in the second-half standings with eight games remaining.
Scott Lieser (St. Cloud State) earned his fourth victory in as many appearances to improve to 7-1 after tossing a complete game with six strikeouts and only one walk. Lieser surrendered four runs on nine hits in his six innings of work.
After Duluth scored the first run of the contest, the Stingers responded quickly with three runs on only one hit. Forrestt Allday (Central Arkansas) began the frame with a walk and scored on a single by Mitch Rowan (San Francisco) coupled with an error by the right fielder. Rowan came across three batters later on an RBI groundout by Kenny Roberts (Alabama), and Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) also scored in the inning after a walk and two wild pitches.
The Huskies came back to tie the game in the third inning, 3-3, but it was all Stingers from that point forward. Allday was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the third and scored immediately on an RBI double by Rowan. Two batters later, Suchy drove home Rowan to give Willmar a 5-3 lead.
Willmar tacked on an additional run in each of the fourth and fifth innings to pull away for a 7-4 victory in six frames. Max Kuhn (Kentucky) walked with one out in the fourth and scored after walks to Allday, Rowan and Haupt forced him home. Haupt picked up his 24th RBI of the year on his bases-loaded free pass. The Stingers have now walked 321 times this year, which is only 12 away from the Northwoods League record for most in a single season by a team (333, Madison in 2008).
Willmar’s final run came on an RBI triple by Kuhn, which scored Hunter Dozier (Stephen F. Austin) after he reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Stingers will conclude their three-game homestand against Duluth Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. with Turn Back the Clock 75 years Night presented by Rice Memorial Hospital. The Stingers and the Duluth Huskies will be wearing vintage uniforms to commemorate Rice Memorial Hospital’s 75th Anniversary. The first 500 fans will receive a poster of the Stingers wearing their vintage uniforms.
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.