Willmar, Minn. — Tyler Hanson and opposing bats haven't gotten along very well this season.
That estranged relationship didn't change Thursday night at Bill Taunton Stadium, as Hanson continued his dominant start to the season in a 5-2 victory against the St. Cloud Rox.
The Stingers offense faced a challenge of its own, going against one of the best arms in the league in Rox right hander Reese Gregory, who hadn't allowed a run in his first two starts of the season. But the Stingers Justin Thaxton made sure that statistic didn't stay that way for long. After Troy Dixon singled in the second inning, Thaxton unloaded a two-run home run down the line in right to give Hanson the only offense he would need.
Hanson stranded a runner at second in the first inning and then hit cruise control the rest of the way, carrying a one-hitter into the sixth inning. That's where Hanson allowed his only run of the night, yielding three straight hits with one out. But Hanson struck out Lee Miller for his seventh and final strikeout of the night to get the second out and then got a ground out to end the threat.
The Stingers answered with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to give them the winning runs. After Tyler Leffler led off with a triple and Eddie Estrada walked, the Rox got two straight outs and looked like they would escape the trouble. But Paul Funk made sure that wouldn't happen, as he singled in both players to make it a 4-1 lead.
The bullpen closed it out the rest of the way, and gave the Stingers their eighth win of the season.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Tyler Hanson. 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.
The 2015 season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune online at www.wctrib.com.
The Willmar Stingers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.willmarstingers.com.