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Willmar, Minn., two runs short in late-inning rally efforts

Steve Lombardozzi, prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Willmar Stingers' game Thursday night, recounts his fondest memory of the 1987 season. The World Series champion Minnesota Twins' second baseman recalled the night the Twins returned from Detroit late Sunday after winning the American League Pennant, and their stunned reaction when the overhead door at the Metrodome opened slowly revealing 50,000 fans to greet them. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

WILLLMAR -- Twins Night was a hit at Baker Field on Thursday evening.

Twenty-nine of them were cranked out by Northwoods League rivals Willmar and Thunder Bay, 16 by the Stingers.

But it was a four-bagger in the Border Cats' second inning with the bases loaded that spelled the difference as the Sting-ers fell 10-8 before 951 well-entertained fans at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar on an 80-degree evening.

Tall (6-foot-4) portside-swinging Ty Wosleger drove a Tanner Banks' delivery high over the right-field fence with the sacks saturated to complete a six-run second-inning by the Cats.

The Stingers start the North Division's second season 0-1 after going 17-15 the first half.

The Border Cat rally put the visitors from Lake Superior's North Shore up 7-2. The Stingers began digging out in the seventh inning but ran out of time.

RBI hits by Mitch Delfino, a double, and Garrett Borba got the Stingers to within two, 10-8. But with the bases loaded and two outs, Brad Delatte, who had come on to pitch the ninth, got Jason Leblebjian swinging for the game-ending out.

Leblebjian had doubled in a run in Willmar's two-run first inning and later had a sacrifice fly.

Rob Elliott and Eduardo Gonzales each had three-hit games for the Stingers.

Willmar starter Tanner Banks took the loss. Taylor Bratton went the first six innings allowing only the two first inning runs for the win.

Kody Gordon threw five-innings of middle relief, allowing five hits and three runs.

Garret Borba, who recently joined the team, went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a triple.