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Baseball: Willmar outslugs Apollo

<b>Rand Middleton</b> Willmar senior Jordan Smith (14) is greeted by teammates after hitting a solo home run with two outs that triggered a five-run fourth inning for the Cardinals Thursday against St. Cloud Apollo at Bill Taunton Stadium.

WILLMAR -- Where the defense failed, the offense picked up the slack as the Willmar baseball team outlasted Central Lakes Conference foe St. Cloud Apollo in a 12-11 slugfest Thursday.

The Cardinals (4-1, 5-3) committed six errors that led to four unearned runs, but 17 hits covered for those mistakes.

Willmar's big offensive explosion came in the fourth inning, after the Eagles (3-2, 3-2) plated four runs in the top of the frame.

Willmar batted around, with Jordan Smith starting the two-out rally with a solo home run. Logan Birkland followed two batters later with a two-run single, then Derrick Loiselle and Adam Fagerstrom each hit a run scoring single.

Willmar added two more runs in the fifth on a Matt Odom single and Birkland's double, which gave the Cardinals a 12-9 lead.

But the Eagles scored twice in the sixth to close the gap to 12-11.

Andrew Bangen entered the game to pitch the last five outs and got them in succession, including a clean seventh inning for the save. Scott Skaalerud earned the win in relief, also throwing 1Xc innings.

Alec Saunders and Birkland led the way for the Cardinals with three hits each. Adamson, Smith and John Sawatzky contributed two hits apiece.

Nick Dockendorf and Mike Frericks each hit a two-run homer for the Eagles.

Willmar 12, SC Apollo 11

SC Apollo 122 402 0 -- 11 10 1

Willmar 410 520 x -- 12 17 6

HITTING - St. Cloud Apollo: Dylon Fuchs 1-for-3, 2b, rbi; Mike Frericks 3-for-5, 2 runs, 2-run HR, 2 rbi; Justin Haakenson 1-for-5, 2b, rbi; Nick Dockendorf 4-for-4, 3 runs , 2-run HR, 3 rbi; Chris Rocheleau 1-for-2, 2 rbi ... Willmar: Austin Adamson 2-for-4, 2 runs; Matt Odom 1-for-3, rbi; Jordan Smith 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2b, solo HR, 1 rbi; Alec Saunders 3-for-4, 3 runs, 3 rbi; John Sawatzky 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2b; Logan Birkland 3-for-4, 2b, 3 rbi; Derrick Loiselle 1-for-2, rbi; Adam Fagerstrom 3-for-4, 3 rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- St. Cloud Apollo: Justin Haakenson (L) 3Xc-12-10-10-2-2, Blake Maspnowski 2Zc-5-2-2-1-5 ... Willmar: Nathaniel Swoyer 3Xc-8-9-6-2-3, Scott Skaalerud (W) 1Xc-2-2-1-1-0, Andrew Bangen (S) 1Xc-0-0-0-0-1