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Stingers win wild one

Al Newman, member of the Minnesota Twins' World Series championship teams in 1987 and '91 throws out the first pitch before the Willmar Stingers game against the Rochester Honkers Thursday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Tribune photo by T.J. Bartelt

WILLMAR -- Thursday's game capped a wild Northwoods North Division baseball series.

The Willmar Stingers came back three times, including a two-run rally in the bottom of the 10th inning, to earn a series victory over the Rochester Honkers with a 6-5 win Thursday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The Honkers won Tuesday's game 11-2, then the Stingers rebounded for a 14-4 victory.

Trailing 5-4 in the 10th, Willmar's Joe Sever led off with a single. His Pepperdine teammate, Nate Johnson, also singled, moving Sever toward third base. The throw to the bag went wide and Sever scored to tie the game.

Matt Serna took the second pitch he saw and dropped it in for a base hit. Mikey Reynolds, pinch running for Johnson, crossed the plate for the winning run.

The Stingers never led until the final run. Rochester took a 1-0 lead on Richie Jimenez's single in the third, but Willmar answered in the bottom of the inning on a Honker error, scoring Serna.

Jimenez stuck it to the Stingers again in the fifth with a bases-loaded single for a 2-1 lead. Mitch Delfino's grounder to second base scored Serna to tie the game in the seventh.

In the eighth, Rochester plated another two runs. Johnson and Carlos Leyva each hit sacrifice flies to again tie the game.

The Stingers got out of trouble in the ninth. With closer Jacob Barnes on the hill, the Honkers loaded the bases with one out.

Barnes, who walked two batters on eight pitches, struck out Ryan Hambright and forced Andrew Mendenhall to hit a weak grounder back to the mound for a force out at first.

Barnes didn't have as good of luck in the 10th. Anthony Hutting singled to lead off, then after two strikeouts, Josef Terry grounded a ball up the middle and past the Willmar defense to score Hutting.

The win keeps the Stingers (15-10) in a first-place tie with St. Cloud. Willmar takes to the road for a two-game series with Thunder Bay, starting today.

Al Newman, a member of the Minnesota Twins World Series championship teams of 1987 and 1991, threw out the first pitch.

Final statistics were not available at press time due to technical problems at the stadium.

Willmar 6, Rochester 5

Rochester Willmar

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Rochester x--x

Willmar x--x

E--xxxxxx. DP--xxxxxx. LOB--xxxxx. 2B--xxxxx. 3B--xxxxx. HR--xxxxx. S--xxxxx. SF--xxxxx. SB--xxxxx. CS--xxxxx.

Rochester IP H R ER BB SO

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HBP--xxxxxx. WP--xxxxx. Balk--xxxxx.

T--xxxx. A--xxx.