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Stingers home finale rained out

After a thunderstorm passed through Willmar Thursday night, members of the Alexandria Beetles attempt a paper-boat race down the first-base line at Bill Taunton Stadium. <b>Tribune photos by Rand Middleton</b>1 / 2
Willmar Stinger players, including Jayson Huett with camera, watch storm clouds develop south of Willmar. Moments later, at 6:55 p.m., high winds and heavy rain pelted the ballpark as fans fled to their vehicles. The game was postponed and the teams will play a doubleheader today in Alexandria. A fan bus will be offered <b>Rand Middleton</b>2 / 2

WILLMAR -- Fan Appreciation Night turned into Fans Run to Your Car Night.

A heavy downpour and high winds forced the Willmar Stingers to cancel their regular-season home finale Thursday night.

The team planned to try to get the game in, even if it meant a late start, after the rains let up. But the field become too saturated to make playable and the two teams will play two seven-inning games today in Alexandria.

Tickets for Thursday's game will be honored in Alexandria today. If fans choose not to travel to Alexandria, they can use equivalent tickets for any game next season except the home opener.

The Stingers will also offer a fan bus to today's twin bill. The cost of the bus ride will be $8 and will leave Bill Taunton Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Anyone wishing to reserve a seat can call the Stingers' office at 320-222-2010 after 9 a.lm.

"I'd really like to see the fans take their support and enthusiasm 60 miles north to Alexadria today," said Stingers co-owner Ryan Voz. "Especially since we are in a playoff race."

Voz said he felt bad that the team was unable to hold Fan Appreciation Night.

"We didn't get a chance to thank the fans for all their support this season," said Voz. "We don't feel like we got any closure to the home season."

Willmar and St. Cloud remain tied for the Northwoods League North Division's second-half race with 18-12 records. St. Cloud's games was suspended due to severe weather in Brainerd.

The winner of the second half race will play Rochester in a best-of-three playoff series beginning Wednesday.If the Stingers would happen to make the playoffs, they likely would not get any home games because Willmar is hosting the Classs B and C state amateur tournament that begins Aug. 20. Willmar would either play at Rochester for every playoff game or find a neutral site.

After today's games, Willmar finishes the regular season with a three-game series at Thunder Bay.

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