Stingers top Rox, retain possession of Highway 23 Series trophy

WILLMAR, Minn.—The Highway 23 Series trophy was on the line for the Stingers Monday night, and despite falling in an early hole, Willmar came back and defeated St. Cloud 7-3 at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Matt Snyder had a bit of a rough start to the game as the starter for the Stingers (30-13 overall, 8-5 second half) and surrendered four straight hits to the Rox (28-21, 9-5) to open the first inning, which brought in two runs. Snyder also came within a pitch of not being able to come out for the second inning, as he threw 34 pitches in the inning — one short of the league limit for a frame. But after Max Dutto couldn't come up with a ground ball at shortstop, he threw out Morgan Phillips, who had overrun third base, to get Snyder out of the jam. 

From there, Willmar slowly made its return from the deficit, coming back for a run right away in the bottom of the first inning. Brian Pruett reached after he got he by a pitch and then made his way around the bases, scoring on a sacrifice fly from Casey Hughston to make it 2-1.

St. Cloud added one run against Snyder in the top of the second to make it 3-1, but that was the last run the Rox would get. They would tally only five more hits in the final seven innings, as Snyder came on strong after the first two innings.

Willmar waited until the fourth inning to score again but tied the score on back to back swings. Nick Rivera led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot to left-center and then Hughston knotted the score at three with a solo blast to right field.

Willmar notched two runs in the fifth and sixth innings as well to open up a four-run lead, which was more than enough for Snyder and Matt Geislinger out of the bullpen.  Snyder finished with six strong innings and struck out six, and Geislinger finished off the final three innings in a strong scoreless effort out of the pen.

For his second straight game, Nick Rivera went 3×4 at the plate and had three RBI to help get Snyder his third win of the season.

Willmar stays at home for the next two days with a two-game series against the Duluth Huskies.

The 2014 season is presented by Charter. For more coverage of the Stingers visit

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Nick Rivera. 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