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Published On: August 13th, 2023

EAU CLAIRE, WI.- The Willmar Stingers remained hot headed into the postseason with a 4-2 win over the Eau Claire Express on Saturday.

Kevin Fitzer was the first to get the Stingers on the board and did so in a big way.

Fitzer crushed his 15th homer of the season to finish the regular season tied for the league lead in that category.

That homer put the Stingers up 2-0 and Aidan Byrne added another via a fielder’s choice.

Eau Claire fought back in the bottom half of the inning with a fielder’s choice and an RBI single from Marcus Cline to bring the Express within one.

After that inning, MinnWest Technology Campus Player of the Game and Hemponix Relief Pitcher of the Game J.D Hennen entered the game and shut down the Express.

Hennen tossed six shutout innings as he allowed just one hit and struck out five batters.

The Stingers added an insurance run in the fifth with a Drey Dirksen single to bring one home.

After that, both sides would come up empty as the Stingers picked up a 4-2 win for win No. 10 in a row.

The Stingers will begin postseason play on Sunday as they begin a best-of-three series against the St. Cloud Rox in the first round.

For more coverage of the Stingers, visit the West Central Tribune online at

The 2023 season is presented by J.D. Kreps Financial Group, empowering investors with powerful financial advice.

The Willmar Stingers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff, over 325 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at and on ESPN+. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Stingers as your favorite team.