WILLMAR, MN – The Willmar Stingers were victorious over the St. Cloud Rox in an electric finish, 4-3.
The hero of the night was Stinger’s third baseman Will Safford who drove in the winning run from second on a full count to seal the deal in the ninth. Safford was rightfully named the MinnWest Technology Campus of the Game for his late-inning heroics.
The walk-0ff single by Safford would be the only time the Stingers would lead in the game. The Rox got their lead early in the top of the second when Brady Prewitt hit a two-run home run to go up 2-0.
The Stingers would respond quickly in the bottom of the same inning when Dalton Pearson was able to hit an RBI-single scoring Nick Terrell from third.
St. Cloud would go up 3-1 in the next inning when Josh Cowden got an RBI-single sending home John Nett.
Willmar would go on to tie the game after getting home runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Drey Dirksen and Joey Walls would both launch rockets that would land over the outfield fence. Dirksen now has back-to-back games with a home run and Walls hit his third bomb of the year, all coming against the St. Cloud Rox.
The score would stay tied until the bottom of the ninth when Zac Corbin hit a massive one-out double and Dirksen would be intentionally walked, setting the table for Safford to put the Rox to bed.
The win would go to John Bezdicek who pitched in the eighth and ninth inning while striking out five batters. The loss would be attributed to Zane Badmaev who fell victim to Safford’s swing.
This was a huge game to keep the Stingers in the race for a first-half playoff birth. The St. Cloud Rox (18-5) still have a 4.5 game lead at the top of the Great Plains West with the Willmar Stingers (15-11) right behind them.
With the Stingers sweeping this series, it still gives them a fighting chance with ten more left until the first half is completed. The Highway 23 Rivalry season series now stands even at 3-3 as the next matchup against these teams won’t be until the first half concludes.
The Stingers take a two-day hiatus and will be back in action traveling to Eau Claire on Monday.