Stingers close first half on winning note

ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—In the final game of the first half, the Stingers completed their stellar first portion of the season the same way they began it. It took extra innings to decide, but with the first dinger of the season from Frankie Rios in the top of the tenth Willmar prevailed 6-5 over Alexandria Monday night at Knute Nelson Memorial Park.

The game began looked like it was headed for a slugfest for the third straight night for the Stingers (22-8) with three runs in the top of the first inning. After Brian Pruett flied out to start the game, Rios got his first hit of the night on a double to left-center field. Reagan Fowler followed with a walk and then Nick Rivera smashed a double down the line to bring Rios into score. Casey Hughston kept the rally going with a solid single to left field that was mishandled, allowing two runs to score and putting Hughston on third base.

But after a quick start to the game, the Blue Anchors (9-25) came back to take the lead with runs in each of the next three innings against Stingers’ starter Austin Klein, who was pitching in his final game of the season. Alexandria tallied one each in the bottom of the first and second innings and then two in the third to take a 4-3 lead.

The Stingers did not bow down quietly though and after Alexandria took the lead in the bottom of the third, the Stingers struck back to tie the game in the next half inning. Troy Kuhn notched the third double of the game with one out in the fourth and moved to third on a wild pitch with Sean Beesley at the plate. He then scored on Beesley’s groundout to second base to tie the matchup at four.

Despite the quick start to the game, neither team would score a run for six more innings, as Klein settled in on the mound. With a fresh start in the bottom of the fourth, Klein came back to the mound and recorded his first one, two, three inning of the game. He faced the bare minimum in the fifth and sixth before allowing two base runners in his seventh and final inning. But with men on first and second, Klein got his third strikeout of Nehwon Norkeh to retire the side.

Neither offense did much of anything the rest of the way, sending the game to extra innings—the fourth time in eight days the Stingers have played in extras. Then, with one out in the tenth and the wind blowing in, Rios drove the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for his first home run of the season. The Stingers added an insurance run in the inning with three straight hits to take a 6-4 lead to the bottom of the tenth.

Garrett Anderson shut the door in the bottom half to pick up his fifth save of the season, while Matt Geislinger earned his second win of the year with two innings in relief of the southpaw Klein.

The 2014 season is presented by Charter. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune’s website at

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Frankie Rios. 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