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Stingers win twice in St. Cloud over weekend

ST. CLOUD — Kyle Perry and Marc Flores both raised their Northwoods League top-10 batting averages Sunday by going a combined 7-for-12, helping the first-place Willmar Stingers edge the St. Cloud Rox 6-4 to complete a two-game sweep on the road.

Perry is now hitting .375 — fourth in the league — by going 3-for-5 and Flores drove in three runs after going 4-for-5, lifting his seventh-best average to .356.

Nick Halamandaris contributed to the Stingers’ 13-hit attack by slugging his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth that gave Willmar a 5-2 lead. Halamandaris also singled in the second and Tyler Leffler had two hits as well.

Willmar starter Nick Bates picked up the win after working five innings, leaving after Halamandaris’ homer and a two-run double from Flores highlighted a four-run fifth. Bates scattered six hits, two walks and two runs. Zack Tillery induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to earn a save.

St. Cloud jumped out to a 2-0 lead in third before Willmar answered with a run in the fourth on a Max Dutto sac fly. Willmar then went ahead 5-2 in the fifth before adding insurance in the sixth when Flores singled in Logan Moon.

The Stingers host the Rox today at 7:05 p.m. before playing a doubleheader on Tuesday in Mankato starting at 6:05 p.m.

Saturday’s Game

Stingers fight off Rox’s 9th-inning rally

ST. CLOUD — A balk in the seventh inning proved to be the winning run for the Willmar Stingers Saturday as a ninth-inning rally from the St. Cloud Rox came up just short.

Willmar was up 4-3 heading into seventh and it looked if the Rox would keep it that way entering the home half of the seventh after getting two quick outs. But Michael Suchy drew a walk and moved to second on a passed ball before scoring on Max Kuhn’s single, giving the Stingers some breathing room. Kuhn then advance to third on another passed ball before coming home on a balk during Nick Halamandaris’ at bat.

The three-run lead came in handy down the stretch as St. Cloud plated two runs in the ninth behind a couple of doubles. Bret Dahlson then got Charlie Morgan to ground out to end the game, earning a save on Colin Poche’s win in relief.

Poche gave up three hits and two runs in 2 1/3 innings, leaving in the sixth with Willmar up 4-3.

Jake Gronsky singled in Logan Moon and later scored on a groundout, as did Marc Flores, to help Willmar stake a 3-0 lead in the third. Max Dutto later doubled in Kuhn in the sixth to give Willmar a 4-1 lead.

Both Flores and Kuhn collected two hits.