(Willmar, M.N.)- In his longest outing of the season, John Bezdicek turned in a gem of a performance to take down the Waterloo Bucks 5-1 Monday night.
Riding a five-game losing streak, the Stingers were in need of a win to hang towards the top of Minnesota/Iowa Pod standings. A two-game series with the first-placed Bucks gave the Stingers an opportunity to jostle their position in the pecking order.
With that in mind, John Bezdicek came out on the mound for the Stingers and pitched one of the most complete performances of the season. Bezdicek threw seven and a third innings of one run, one hit baseball, only giving up two walks, while striking out a season-high 12 strikeouts. Bezdicek rode a perfect game into the fifth inning, retiring the first 16 batters he faced. The only run Bezdicek seceded was a solo home run off the bat of Brett McCleary in the sixth.
The Stingers gave Bezdicek runs support at the plate as well, starting in the fourth inning. Willmar scored a pair in the inning on RBIs from Schnurbusch and McKenzie. The Stingers added another in the fifth and another pair in the seventh. Tyler Wilber reached base every time he came to the plate, with three hits, a walk and two RBI.
After Bezdicek exited the game to a standing ovation, Wyatt Thompson came into the game and finished the job. He retired five of the six batters he faced, striking out all five of the outs recorded. In total, the Stingers struck out 17 total Bucks in the victory.
Willmar now sits two and a half games back of the Bucks in the standing with another game on the docket tomorrow. First pitch for game two of the series is set for 7:05 Tuesday night.