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Portela Dazzles, Stingers Win Game One Thriller

WILLMAR, Minn. – Polo Portela led the Stingers to a 2-1 victory in the first game of a split doubleheader against the Eau Claire Express Tuesday afternoon.

In the Stingers' gritty victory, they again scored a run in the first inning, upping their total to 12 of 15 games with first-inning runs. They are now 7-1 in games in which they scored first.

Marcus Still (New Mexico State) started the game with a double down the right field line. He was then brought in by Brady Shockey (USC), who grounded out to short. It was the Stingers' only run until the sixth inning, when Still scored again after hitting a single and stealing second base. He was brought in with an error on the Eau Claire second baseman that allowed him to score from second.

Today's Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Polo Portela (Sac City). 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.

Portela pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings in his first start as a Stinger. Through five innings, he had faced the minimum 15 batters and struck out two. He allowed two hits and induced two double plays. He threw 85 total pitches in his outing.

The Stingers had three double plays in the game, upping their total to 17 on the season, which is second-most in the Northwoods League.

Eli Wilson (Minnesota) game up big in the ninth inning as well. With one out, Eau Claire's Nic Ready brought in the first run of the day for Eau Claire with an RBI single to left. He then tried to stretch his single into a double, but Wilson's barehanded play caught him on his way to second. Eau Claire went from potentially having the tying run on second with one out to having the bases clear with two outs.

Alex Reyes (New Mexico State) continued to finish the game with a strikeout and collected his second save of the season. 

The Stingers improve to 9-6 on the season and a 5-2 record at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Game two begins at 7:05 p.m. at Bill Taunton Stadium. Luke Chevalier (Northern State) will make his third start on the mound for Willmar against Eau Claire's Ethan Nichols (Air Force). 

It will be Bring Your Own Instrument Night presented by Hansen Advertising. Fans are encouraged to bring their own instrument to participate in between-inning music, and the first 250 fans receive free kazoos. Tickets are available at WillmarStingers.com or at the ticket booth outside the main entrance. 

The 2017 Stingers season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers, visit the West Central Tribune online at www.wctrib.com.