Stingers nipped by MoonDogs in game one of Divisional Series

MANKATO, Minn.—It came down the the wire yet again between the Stingers and MoonDogs Monday night, but in the first game of the playoff chase, Willmar fell on the short end of a 7-4 loss at Franklin Rogers Park.

After getting shutout in the last two games against the MoonDogs, the Stingers' offense started the night hot and continued to hit the ball well throughout the night. Willmar tallied two runs in the very first inning against Mankato Joe Hawks and looked to take the MoonDogs out of the game early. Following the first two outs of the frame, Reagan Fowler started the rally by smashing a double to the right field alley. Nick Rivera singled in Fowler, and Rivera scored when the next batter Jack Ross singled to right field to make it 2-0.

Mankato responded with three runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead back, but the Stingers kept at it despite falling behind. In the third inning, Nick Rivera clobbered a home run over the left field wall to tie the game at three. The MoonDogs got the run back in the bottom of the inning, but after a four-inning wait the Stingers rallied to tie the score once more. Sean Beesley reached on a bunt single with one out in the seventh and promptly stole his 26th base of the year with Brian Pruett at the plate. Fowler doubled yet again, driving in Beesley from second and knotting the game at four.

But the MoonDogs answered with three runs in the bottom of the same inning for the third time during the game to take the 7-4 lead, which would hold up as the final. Even in the loss, Willmar still pounded out 11 hits while the MoonDogs managed just nine in a good pitching outing combined from Phoenix Sanders and Will Lydon.

Willmar returns to the Beehive for game two of the three-game series Tuesday night. If the Stingers win tomorrow night to force a third game, tickets will be available for purchase after the contest.

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