WATERLOO, Iowa—No matter what the circumstances have been this year, the Stingers will not let Waterloo get the best of them. After allowing the Bucks to come back from an early 5-0 deficit, Willmar stymied the Bucks the rest of the way and used a clutch four-run ninth to top the Bucks 9-5 Sunday afternoon at Riverfront Stadium.
It looked like the Stingers were going to run away with the game in the early going with five runs spread out over the first three innings. Willmar (29-13 overall, 7-5 second half) took the lead right away with two runs in the very first inning off of Bucks’ starter Nick Veale. Brian Pruett, who led off, started the rally the hard way when he got beaned in the head. Hutton Moyer doubled right after to move Pruett to third and then Reagan Fowler reached on an infield single to load the bases. Jack Ross drove in the first run when he made it to first base on an error and Max Ayoub drove in the second run off a fielder’s choice.
Willmar tacked on another in the top of the second and then two more in the top of the third to open up the 5-0 advantage, with Moyer, Sean Beesley and Tyler Cohen all recording RBI. But Waterloo (30-18, 6-7) struck back against Garrett Anderson, starting in his first game on the mound, and tallied five runs in the third and fourth innings to tie the game.
After the offensive display by both teams in the first four innings though, neither team could scratch across another run for the next four innings. Anderson left after the fourth and Brantley Claunch came up strong in relief to keep the game tied, getting some help from his defense along the way. With the go-ahead run on third base in the sixth with two out, Claunch induced a groundball back up the middle. Pruett fielded the ball behind second base and threw across his body just in time to end the inning. Claunch finished with three scoreless innings on the mound.
After Will Lydon stranded another runner at third base in the bottom of the eighth, the Stingers finally broke free for four runs to take the lead for good. Moyer led the ninth inning off by reaching first base on an error, and the Stingers added two more singles to load the bases for Jack Ross. Ross, who had four straight multi-hit games coming into Sunday, took the count from 1-2 to full before blooping a single to right to put the Stingers up for good, his second hit of the game. He finished with three RBI. Ross stole second and then Tyler Cohen singled him in along with Casey Hughston to make it a four-run lead going to the bottom of the ninth.
Lydon shut down the Bucks’ bats in the bottom of the ninth to secure his second relief win of the season.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Jack Ross. 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.