THUNDER BAY, Ont.—The Stingers’ pitching has been superb so far this season, but Thursday night in Thunder Bay the offense is what brought Willmar to victory, with a 10-run outburst in a 10-6 win over the Border Cats.
Willmar (20-6) fell behind after Thunder Bay (13-18) hit one home run in each of the first two innings, but Stingers’ starter Kurt Yinger settled down and kept his team in the game until the offense came alive.
The bats finally awakened in the sixth inning when Willmar tallied three runs, needing only two hits to do so. Dan Motl led off the inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by the Border Cats’ catcher on the same play. Frankie Rios doubled Motl home to cut the Stingers deficit in half. The Stingers then loaded the bases after a sacrifice and a walk to Max Ayoub, and tied the game when Hutton Moyer walked, forcing in a run. With one more run in the inning the Stingers took the 3-2 lead.
After an insurance run in the next inning, Willmar went to the bottom of the ninth with a 4-2 lead, but the third home run of the game by the Border Cats tied the game at four to send it to extras—the third time in five days the Stingers have gone to extra innings.
But in the very next inning the Stingers erupted for six runs to take the lead back and for good. The go-ahead run came into score on another walk to force in a run, but a controversial play at the plate led to a shift in momentum that ultimately turned the tide. With the bases still loaded, Jack Ross hit a slow bouncer to third that Border Cats’ third baseman Adam Collins grabbed and threw to home plate to try to get Reagan Fowler on the force out. But catcher Christian Correa’s foot got pulled off the plate and Fowler slid in safely to give the Stingers a 6-4 lead. Max Dutto doubled in two more right after to double the Stingers lead and eventually came into score along with Ross to give the Stingers a six-run cushion.
That lead proved more than enough as Geislinger pitched his second straight inning in the bottom of the tenth to earn the win, his first of the year.
The 2014 season is presented by Charter. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune’s website at www.wctrib.com.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Reagan Fowler. CDI is your local medical imaging provider. It’s your choice where you go for medical imaging, for MRI, CT, mammograms and pain injections, choose CDI. Visit online at myCDI.com/CentralMN.