Stingers squander early lead, fall 6-4 to Alexandria in first game of doubleheader
WILLMAR — An early 4-1 lead didn’t hold up for the Willmar Stingers Tuesday as the visiting Alexandria Blue Anchors scored five late runs to upended the Stingers 6-4 in the first game of a Northwoods League doubleheader at Bill Taunton Stadium.
The Stingers ended up only getting three hits off two Alexandria pitchers with Sean Beesley, batting in the leadoff position, getting two of them. The Illinois State product notched two-out singles in the fourth and sixth, but on both occasions Brian Pruett would fly out to end the inning.
Reagan Fowler supplied the Stingers’ hit with a solo home run in the first inning. It was his first homer of the year and the Creighton product raised his batting average to .313, the fourth-highest mark on the team.
The Stingers broke a 1-1 tie in the third after Max Dutto drew a walk and Beesley got hit by a pitch to lead off the frame. Pruett advanced Dutto and Beesley a base with a sacrifice bunt and an error allowed Fowler to reach and Dutto to score.
Beesley then scored on a wild pitch during Nick Rivera’s appearance and Brett Barbier’s fielder’s choice that allowed Fowler to come home capped the scoring.
Winning pitcher Ryan Hamilton and Alexandria reliever Austin Smith proceeded to keep Willmar off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game while their teammates scored four times in the fifth to take control. Highlighting the frame was Craig Nennig’s RBI double and Rickey Sanchez’s two-run single.
Nennig finished his 3-for-3 performance at the plate by hitting a solo home run in the sixth to give Alexandria some insurance.
The second game was still in progress when the Tribune went to press Tuesday night. Willmar was leading 2-1 in the fifth.
The teams play another doubleheader today with Alexandria hosting the first game at 12:05 p.m. before the two head south to play at 7:05 p.m. in Willmar.