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Long Ball Lifts Stingers to Thrilling 40th Win

THUNDER BAY, Ontario — The Willmar Stingers belted three home runs out of Port Arthur Stadium to give them a 6-5 ten-inning victory Saturday evening. 

For the sixth straight year, they have reached the 40 win mark and will be headed to the playoffs for the fifth time in team history. 

The Stingers got ahead first by scoring three runs in the fourth inning. The 7-8-9 batters Carter Schmidt (Concordia-St. Paul), Cody Ulfers (MS-Mankato), and Matt Klosterman (McKendree) each drove in a run to put the Stingers ahead.

Thunder Bay quickly responded with five runs in the bottom of the fourth, but those were soon refuted with Nolan Bumstead’s (CS-Northridge) seventh home run of the season. 

Four innings later, the Stingers still trailed 5-4 with two outs in the top of the ninth. After Nick Mears (Sac City) had just struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth, Luke Becker (Kentucky) went to the plate and tied the game with a solo home run to right-center. It tied the game at five as Stone Kelly (Georgia Gwinnett) took the mound for the bottom of the ninth.

Kelly allowed only one base runner on a walk. He struck out one and forced the game into extras. 

In the top of the tenth, Tyler Reichenborn (Iowa Western) hit an opposite field home run to put the Stingers ahead 6-5. Kelly then held onto the lead in the bottom half to get his third win of the season and attain the Stingers' coveted fortieth win.

Today's Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Tyler Reichenborn. 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.

Reichenborn’s game-winning homer was his first of the season.

The Stingers are now 22-13 on the second half and 40-31 overall. They qualify for the 2017 playoffs as a wild card team.

Dates and information on the Northwoods League playoffs will be released in the coming days. You can follow @WillmarStingers on Twitter or check WillmarStingers.com for information as it is determined.

The Stingers finish the regular season tomorrow against the Border Cats. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. CT and will feature Cameron Churchill (Nova Southeastern) on the mound. You can listen live for free at WillmarStingers.com. 

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.