Michael Suchy's power and eight strong innings from starter Tanner Banks and the Willmar Stingers' bullpen gave the Stingers a 5-3 over Alexandria on Tuesday and kept Willmar in line for its first-ever playoff spot.
Suchy hit two solo homers, the second providing the winning run, and Banks won for a second time in two starts.
The Stingers (19-11) lead the Northwoods League's North Division by 1-1/2 games over the St. Cloud Rox and by two games over Alexandria with five games to play. Duluth is 2-1/2 games back.
The Stingers play their final road game today in Mankato at 7:05 p.m. The Stingers then play two home games against Mankato and two against Thunder Bay to end the regular season.
Banks, who in late July, is 2-0 in his two starts. He allowed three runs in the first inning but settled in after that, working 5-2/3 innings and allowing just three hits. He has a 3.14 earned-run average.
Suchy hit his seventh home run of the season in the second inning, and his eighth homer in the third inning put the Stingers up 4-3. Suchy is sixth in the Northwoods League hitting .366 and he ranked second in the league with 61 runs batted in in 62 games this year.
Willmar's bullpen, which has been shaky at times, locked down the win on Tuesday.
Andre Wheeler relieved Banks with two outs in the sixth and worked 1-2/3 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out two.
Brady Anderson continued his strong season, pitching 1-2/3 innings and allowing just one run while striking out five. The save was his league-leading 15th of the season.
The Stingers' Brennan Moore had two hits and drove in two runs, and Forrestt Allday had a hit in three trips and scored twice. Zach Benson had Willmar's other hit Tuesday.