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Stingers drop extra-inning affair to Blue Anchors

ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—Willmar got its second straight quality outing Monday night, but a late game rally by the Blue Anchors foiled Andrew Towns’ bid to get his fourth win of the year, as the Stingers fell 7-6 in 12 innings at Knute Nelson Memorial Park.
 
The Stingers (38-20 overall, 16-12 second half) controlled the game from the opening frame with Sean Beesley leading off the top of the first inning with a double into the right field corner. A groundout by Hutton Moyer moved Beesley to third and Reagan Fowler’s grounder to third base brought Beesley in to make it 1-0.
 
Working with the early lead, Towns was solid from the get-go in his six innings of work in his ninth start of the year. He did allow a one-out double in the bottom of the first, but he answered with a strikeout and a fly out to strand Craig Nennig at second. The following inning Towns walked a batter and gave up a hit to put two on with only one out, but again had a response and got a fly ball and ground out to end the Blue Anchors’ scoring chance.
 
In the top of the fourth inning Willmar increased its lead with the help of a friendly bounce. Going to work with one out, the offense got back to back hits from Nick Rivera and Casey Hughston. On the heels of the second out of the inning, Brian Pruett legged out an infield single that had taken a favorable hop at shortstop. That allowed the inning to continue for Max Ayoub who promptly singled in Rivera and Hughston to make it 3-0.
 
Alexandria (18-40, 8-15) tallied their only run against Towns in his final inning in the bottom of the sixth, but the Stingers got the run right back in the top of the seventh. Then in the eighth, Rivera crushed a ball to center field for his 13th home run of the season to make it a 5-1 advantage.
 
However, the Blue Anchors had an answer of their own and came back in the bottom of the eighth with four runs, including a three-run home run, to tie the game at five.
 
After neither team scored in the ninth, the game went to extras. Willmar finally took the lead in the top of the 12th after Rivera got his fourth hit of the game, coming around to score on two wild pitches and a sacrifice fly by Jack Ross.
 
But the lead would not last long, and in the bottom of the 12th the Blue Anchors rallied for two runs to win the game.

The Stingers return to the Beehive Tuesday night for five straight days, starting with a doubleheader against the Blue Anchors. First pitch tomorrow night, July 29, is slated for 7:05 p.m.

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 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 myCDI.com/CentralMN.