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Published On: June 26th, 2015

Willmar, Minn. — The Stingers had yet to win in walk-off fashion in 2015, but Brian Pruett ended that stretch and ended the game Thursday night. 

After making a game-saving, leaping grab in the top of the ninth inning with a runner in scoring position, Pruett ripped a single in the bottom of the ninth to score Billy Quirke, send Bill Taunton Stadium into a frenzy and give the Stingers a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Waterloo Bucks.

Willmar (18-11) swept the Bucks in all eight meetings in 2014 and kept that streak alive with the win in the first game of the five-game homestand, taking the outright lead in the North Division in the process.  

Until Pruett's game-winning knock in the bottom of the ninth, it was all about the pitching. The Stingers' Tyler Hanson, who came in looking for his fourth straight win of the season, had his longest outing of the year and one of his best. He tied his season-high with his seven strikeouts in eight solid innings of work, allowing his only run in the fifth inning. On the other side for the Bucks, starter Brian Drapeau worked six strong innings, as he gave up just one run, which was a home-run hit by Kyle Gilbert in the bottom of the fourth. 

After the runs were scored in back-to-back half innings in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, the two teams remained scoreless the rest of the way until the ninth inning. With Willmar's Dakota Belter on in relief in the ninth, the Bucks got a runner to second base with two gone in the frame. Mikal Hill then lined a pitch to second base that looked like it would get down for a base hit to give the Bucks the lead, but Pruett sailed into the air and pulled the ball down to end the inning. 

Then Pruett and the Stingers worked their magic in the bottom of the ninth. Justin Thaxton had the longest at-bat of the game to start the ninth, and doubled down the left field line to begin the rally. Billy Quirke then pinch ran, moved to third on a passed ball, and then Pruett singled him home to give the Stingers the win. 

With the win the Stingers sit alone in first with six games left in the first half. 

The 2015 Stingers season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune online at

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Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Brian Pruett. 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

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