Willmar, Minn — It took a game for the Stingers' bats to heat up, but once they did, they were scalding hot.
A night after getting shutout in its season opener, Willmar responded Thursday night for its home opener with a 19-6 defeat of Thunder Bay. The game started similarly to Wednesday night with the first two batters in the bottom of the first being putout. But then the tide changed with one swing. With two gone in the bottom of the first Justin Thaxton blasted his first home run of the season to give the Stingers their first run of the season.
That was just a foreshadowing of what was to come. Willmar (1-1) scored once more in the first, once in the second and two more in the bottom of the third to open up a 5-0 lead on the Border Cats. Then came the big blow. The Stingers sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth inning and scored six runs to make it 11-0.
Willmar wasn't done scoring yet though. After failing to score in the fifth and sixth innings, the Stingers came back with a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning from Lucas Tancas to make it 16-4. Three more runs in the eigth made it 19-4, as Willmar scored runs in all but two innings and finished with the most runs since it had 24 in a win against Alexandria in June 2013.
On the mound for the Stingers, Will Lydon was impressive in his first start of the year, throwing five shutout innings while striking out four and walking just one. That strong performance set the pace, and the bullpen had plenty of support to take the Stingers to the win.
The 2015 season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers vist www.wctrib.com.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Lucas Tancas. 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.