Brault sets club strikeout record in Stingers' win over Honkers
ROCHESTER — Steven Brault set a club record with 13 strikeouts and the Willmar Stingers topped the Rochester Honkers 3-2 on Tuesday at Mayo Field.
Brault didn’t walk a batter and completed 6 2/3 innings.
“He was throwing fastballs early in the zone and his slider,” Stingers’ manager Matt Hollod said. “When his slider is on it’s tough to hit.”
Brault broke his own team mark of 10 strikeouts in a game, a record that he shared with Scott Lieser. Lieser did it against Alexandria in 2011 and Brault tied it last season against Mankato.
“I was feeling good,” Brault said. “I’m confident throwing strikes, my fastball’s been working … it seemed pretty effortless.”
The Honkers couldn’t touch him early on with eight strikeouts through the first three innings, though they scored an unearned run on an error to right fielder Michael Suchy.
He ran into trouble in the fourth when he gave up back-to-back doubles to Steve Serratore and Quinn Carpenter, but escaped allowing just one run.
“He ran into a little bit of an issue in the fourth,” Hollod said. “He fell out of sync for an inning but he made the adjustment and got back on track.”
The Honkers nearly came up back against the Stingers’ bullpen in the ninth inning, loading the bases against Cody Hughes and Bobby McCormack with one out, but McCormack rang up pinch hitter Mitch Anderson looking and got Kalei Hanawahine to ground out to end the game.
“I think (McCormack) has the mentality to be a late-inning guy,” Hollod said. “If he gets better and makes adjustments quick, I think he’s going to be really good.”
They also threatened in the eighth when Hanawahine hit a leadoff double off reliever Andrew Crook. Hanawahine reached third on a stolen base, and after the pitch went wild, tried to score, but was cut down on a throw by catcher J.D. Dorgan to Crook covering home.
The Stingers took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning on a Karl Sorensen two-run single that scored Suchy and Zack Tillery.
Tyler Leffler also drove in a run in the second on a sacrifice fly to score Suchy, who had doubled.
The Stingers improved to 4-3 in the Northwoods League North Division. They home today for a game against Thunder Bay 7:05 p.m. at Bill Taunton Stadium.