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Stern leads Willmar Rails past Sacred Heart

WILLMAR -- Anthony Stern went 5-for-5 and Willmar erupted for six runs in the sixth inning to take a commanding lead as the Rails closed out the regular season by upending Sacred Heart 8-4 Monday in a Cornbelt League game.

The Rails sent up 12 batters to the plate in the sixth inning to open the floodgates. Willmar took advantage of four walks and Stern highlighted the frame with a bases-clearing double, his third of the game.

Jordan Olson later singled in two more runs before Matt Odom capped the scoring by driving in Olson with a single.

Willmar belted out 13 hits off Sacred Heart starter Phil Erickson and reliever and loser Geoff Nelson. Lane Kleist and John Sawatzky had two hits each for Willmar.

Ross Van Hauen worked 5Zc innings in relief of Rails' starter Jason Scheffler to get the win. Van Hauen surrendered five hits and four runs -- three earned -- while striking out four. Olson finished throwing 1Xc scoreless innings.

Sacred Heart scored four times in the eighth with the help of two Willmar errors.

Willmar hosts Granite Falls and Sacred Heart hosts Bird Island in the first round of the Cornbelt South playoffs Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Willmar 8, Sacred Heart 4

Sacred Heart 000 000 040 -- 4 7 1

Willmar 101 006 00x -- 8 13 4

HITTING - Sacred Heart: Matt Huhnerkoch 1-for-1; Ryan Hebrink 1-for-2; Paul Peterson 1-for-2; Adam Zaske 1-for-2, rbi; Mike Kuschel 1-for-2; Ross Hebrink 1-for-3, rbi; Mike Johnson 1-for-2 ... Willmar: Lane Kleist 2-for-3, 2 runs; Anthony Stern 5-for-5, 3 2b's, 2 runs, 3 rbi; Matt Seehusen 1-for-4, rbi; Jordan Olson 1-for-5, 2 rbi; Matt Carlson 1-for-3; Matt Odom 1-for-4, rbi; John Sawatzky 2-for-3

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Sacred Heart: Phil Erickson 5-8-2-2-4-4, Geoff Nelson (L) 3-5-6-6-4-2 ... Willmar: Jason Scheffler 2-2-0-0-0-2, Ross Van Hauen (W) 51/3-5-4-3-2-4, Jordan Olson 12/3-0-0-0-3-1