Fireworks, On and Off the Field, Flare on Opening Night

WILLMAR, Minn. – It took no time for the Stingers to make some noise on Opening Night in Willmar.

Following former Twins' World Series champion Tom Brunansky’s ceremonial first pitch, the Stingers opened up with a five-run first inning.

They continued their success at the plate, eventually collecting 12 total runs against the Border Cats. Three runs came in both the fifth and the sixth innings, putting the game out of reach for Thunder Bay. 

Caleb Ledbetter (Montevallo) collected the first Stingers’ home run of 2017 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Catcher Rob Emery (San Francisco) collected three hits over the course of the ballgame.

Ledbetter, Emery, and Tyler Reichenborn (Iowa Western) all collected multiple hits in the evening.

The Stingers were led on the mound by a six inning, one-run start by Jake Rothwell (Daytona State). It was his second Opening Night appearance with the Stingers, and his third career win for the team.

As a staff, the Willmar pitchers held Thunder Bay to only seven hits and one run. They struck out 10 batters in the ballgame.

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Caleb Ledbetter. 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

It was the Stingers' first Opening Night victory since 2014. They move to 37-25 overall and 22-9 at home against Thunder Bay.

The game was followed by a fireworks show presented by Marcus Construction. 1,376 fans were on hand at Bill Taunton Stadium for Opening Night.

The Stingers and Border Cats play again to complete the series at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

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