WILLMAR, Minn. – Seven different Stingers recorded hits, and Willmar scored five unanswered runs to defeat the Duluth Huskies, 5-4, at Bill Taunton Stadium at Baker Field Sunday evening. Rob Elliott (Bradley), Jason Leblebijian (Bradley), Anthony Bemboom (Creighton) and Eduardo Gonzalez (Alcorn State) each posted two hits in the game. Ricky Knapp earned his third victory in as many starts after holding Duluth to three runs on six hits and striking out six in 7 2/3 innings.
Jason West (Stephen F. Austin) picked up his fourth save for Willmar, which has now won three-straight games and trails the Mankato MoonDogs by 2 1/2 games in the standings. The Stingers will face Mankato four times in the next three days beginning with a doubleheader Monday night. Willmar improved its overall record for the season to 10-8.
Trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the third inning, Bemboom and Gonzalez led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Mitch Rowan (Willamette) then reached on an error committed on a sacrifice bunt attempt to load the bases with nobody out. Elliott then drove home Bemboom on a single to left field. Three batters later, Rowan scored on a passed ball to make it a one-run game.
Willmar took the lead in the fifth inning thanks to four-consecutive hits before an out was recorded. Rowan started things off with a double, which was followed by a bunt single by Elliott. Hincy then registered his eighth RBI of the season with an infield single to score Rowan. The next batter, Leblebijian, also earned an RBI on an infield single. Leblebijian’s infield hit scored Elliott to give Willmar its first lead of the game.
Willmar added an insurance run in the seventh inning on an error, and West came in for the final four outs of the game to secure the victory. The Stingers will now play three games at Mankato over the next two days. The two teams will face off for two seven-inning games Monday night beginning at 6:05 p.m. They will then play one final game in Mankato Tuesday night before both squads come to Willmar to play each other for the last time in the first half of the season.
Wednesday’s home game against Mankato is “Guaranteed Win Night” presented by Erbert and Gerberts & Big Country. The first 250 fans will receive an envelope with different amounts of comet cash. If the Stingers lose, all fans will receive a voucher to a future game as they exit the stadium. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. The gates will open at 6 p.m.
The 2011 season is presented by Charter.