Stingers slip past Loggers
WILLMAR — Playing in front of their fans at Bill Taunton Stadium for the first time since June 9, the Willmar Stingers rallied past the La Crosse Loggers 4-2 Tuesday in a battle of the two Northwoods League division leaders.
La Crosse, which entered the game with a one-game lead in the South, got an RBI single in the first inning from Luke Persico and an RBI fielder’s choice in the fifth from leadoff hitter Jack Meggs.
Loggers starter Ryan Deemes issued three walks and hit a batter, but gave up only two hits over the first four innings to keep North-leading Willmar off the scoreboard.
But the Stingers struck in the fifth when Reagan Fowler doubled in Brian Pruett and Frankie Rios to tie the game at 2-2. Deemes notched a strikeout and induced a groundout to open the frame, but Pruett singled and Rios drew a walk to keep the inning alive.
The Stingers, coming off a tough extra-inning loss at Rochester, then pulled ahead in the next inning. Casey Hughston singled and stole second, and Max Ayoub walked to knock Deemes out of the game. Zach Walsh got the call from the bullpen and uncorked a wild pitch on his second pitch to move Hughston and Ayoub up a base. Walsh got Hutton Moyer to ground out, but Jack Ross singled to center to knock in Hughston and Ayoub.
That was enough for Austin Klein to improve to 3-0. The lefthander starter struck out eight and gave up four hits and three walks in seven-plus innings of work.
Josh Matheson got the final out of the eighth before Brady Anderson needed just 12 pitches to record three outs and pick up his first save of the season.
Pruett and Hughston both got two hits to help the Stingers outhit La Crosse 7-5.
The teams square off at Bill Taunton Stadium again today at 7:05 p.m.