Stingers Fall in Thriller to Rox
(Willmar, M.N.)- In a game that featured everything, stellar defensive plays, home runs, lights out pitching, the Stingers ultimately fell to St. Cloud 4-3 in a game that came down to the final pitch.
The Rox jumped out to the early lead scoring a run in the first. After two quick singles by the Rox, Jordan Barth drove in Ben Norman from third on a groundout. The Rox would add two more runs in the third on a two-run home run by Ben Norman, his second of the year.
As for the Stingers, their offense came entirely from the home run. Griffin Cheney launched a homer in the third, Brooks Lee drove a laser to right in the fifth and Kyle Manzardo cracked an opposite field shot in the eighth. For the Stingers, their three-home run performance puts them at 22 total for the season.
On the mound, it was dual from the starters. For the second straight night, a Stinger starter made their first start of the season and performed well. Gavin Gorrell threw six innings, allowing three runs while striking out six. After he gave up the home run in the third, he would not concede a run the rest of the way.
For the Rox, starter Luke Albright had the strikeout working, hurling 12 K’s in five innings of work, as well as picking up the win.
The difference-making run for St. Cloud came in the eighth inning as Kodie Kolden scored on a Willmar error.
In the ninth, Jayson Newman was electric in the top half, striking out two to preserve a one-run deficit going into the bottom of the ninth. The Stingers had opportunities as Hunter Ranweiler bunted his way aboard, Brennan McKenzie and Jake Meyer each singled and bases then loaded for Drey Dirksen. On a 1-2 pitch, Dirksen drilled a line drive down the third base side, appearing to give the Stingers a walk-off win. However, the ball was ruled foul and two pitches later Dirksen grounded into a game-ending double play.
The Stingers finish 3-3 at Bill Taunton Stadium against the Rox with just one more meeting between the two clubs next Thursday from St. Cloud. Willmar back in action tomorrow night as they welcome in the Mankato MoonDogs. First pitch for that game is set for 7:05.