Willmar, Minn. — The Stingers are back on schedule.
With just one game rained out so far this summer, Willmar made up that only rainout Saturday night with a doubleheader against Thunder Bay, which saw the Stingers' offense get back on track with 6-4 and 10-2 wins over the Border Cats at Bill Taunton Stadium.
After scoring three runs or fewer in six straight games, the Stingers (30-16, 7-5 second half) exploded for a six-run fifth inning to put any chance of a Border Cats rally to rest in the doubleheader finale. In that fifth inning, Willmar had the first four men of the inning reach base, as Sean Beesley tripled in Dan Motl, while Beesley came around to score on Reagan Fowler's single.
The big blow in that fifth inning came on Eddie Estrada's first home run of the season. Estrada blasted a three-run shot over the left field wall to cap off the inning with a bang and make it a 9-2 Stingers' lead.
In his first start of the season in game two of the twin bill, Colton Boucher no hit the Border Cats through 4 1/3 innings. He went five innings total and allowed just two runs on two hits while striking out two to earn his second win of the year.
The first game featured a Stingers comeback victory for the 13th time this season. Thunder Bay struck for the first run of the game in the first game with a single tally in the second inning. The Stingers matched that with a run of their own in the bottom of that frame, but the Border Cats scored another run in the top of the third to take the lead back at 2-1.
But the Stingers wouldn't be turned aside and put up a three spot in the bottom of the third inning to take the lead for good. A Fowler single and a pair of sacrifice flies by Lucas Tancas and Estrada helped bring in the three runs.
Willmar went on to add a run in the fourth and another in the fifth to extend the lead to 6-2. Brian Pruett hit his second home run in as many days and his fourth of the season for that first run, and Estrada came through with another sac fly in the fifth to bring the advantage to four.
Thunder Bay made the game interesting with a pair of runs in the sixth, but Brady Anderson locked down his 11th straight save to get the Stingers the victory.
The six-day homestand concludes tomorrow with the series finale against the Border Cats. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. at Bill Taunton Stadium.
The 2015 Stingers season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune online at www.wctrib.com.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Eddie Estrada. 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.