Stingers historic season comes to an end in playoff setback

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The Stingers have been one of the best teams in the Northwoods League since their inception in 2010, and that didn’t change in 2016.

Despite a first-round playoff loss to St. Cloud on Monday night at Joe Faber Field, Willmar (41-31 overall) still managed to accomplish something that hadn’t been done in the Northwoods League in 10 seasons. The Stingers third-straight playoff berth made them the first team since 2006 to achieve that standard and only the fifth franchise to do it in the 23 years of the league.

The Rox held the Stingers potent offense at bay in a 2-1 victory, as Willmar couldn’t take advantage of Corey Binger’s superb start.

Binger (Nebraska Omaha) had one of his best outings of the year, yielding just two runs in eight innings of work. The right-hander finished strong, retiring 17 of the final 18 hitters he faced in the game. He didn’t yield a hit after the third inning.

The only offense the Rox mustered during the game came in the second inning when Webb Bobo hit a two-run home run off of Binger. The Rox managed four consecutive hits in the inning, but had just one over the final six innings after that.

Willmar responded with a single run in the fourth inning, as the Northwoods League leader in RBIs in Greg Lambert singled and eventually scored to cut the deficit to just one. Lambert finished the regular season with 66 RBIs, becoming the first Stingers player to lead the league in that category. Lambert was part of a Stingers offense that scored the most runs in a single season in franchise history.

One run was all the closer the Stingers could get with both pitching staffs matching each other with zeroes the rest of the way.

With 41 wins during the regular season, the Stingers got to the 41-win plateau for the fifth straight season. Willmar is the only franchise in league history to accomplish that. The Stingers also led the league in multiple offensive categories for the first time in team history, including runs, hits, batting average, doubles and slugging percentage.

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Corey Binger. 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 Stingers organization would also like to thank all of the fans for yet another successful season, which included the 250,000th fan passing through the gates of Bill Taunton Stadium.

The 2016 season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune online at