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Stingers take 3 in one night at Mankato

MANKATO -- In a baseball rarity, the Willmar Stingers swept a tripleheader on Saturday.

Willmar scored a trifecta by holding the first-half champions Mankato MoonDogs to only two runs over 16 innings at Franklin Rogers Park.

The threesome became necessary after Friday's postponement and a June game tied 8-8 left hanging in the 12th inning due to rain.

At 4:05 p.m. Saturday, Willmar and Mankato resumed the undecided game from June 21. Chris Gonzales shut down the MoonDogs for two innings, while Jason Leblebijian hit an RBI single in the top of the 13th to score Ryan Dettman and give the Stingers a 9-8 victory in 13 innings. Dettman led off the inning with a single, stole second and scampered home on Jason Leblebijian's game-winning, one-out hit.

The victory upped Willmar's record in the first half to 18-15.

In a seven-inning game to make up Friday's postponed contest, the Stingers scored in the first inning and went on to a 4-0 win for starter Ricky Knapp.

Mitch Rowan began the game with a walk and scored on a wild pitch.

Garrett Borba followed suit in the third with a leadoff walk and scored on a squeeze bunt by Eduardo Gonzalez. Jarid Scarafiotti singled in the fourth to score Mitch Delfino after he singled and stole second.

The Stingers added their final run on a leadoff walk by Rowan, who eventually scored on a balk.

Knapp, who plays in today's All-Star game in Wisconsin Rapids, earned the victory after going five innings and allowing only three hits with no walks. Chris Gonzales and Kurt Spomer each came on to throw an inning of hitless relief.

In the nightcap, Leblebijian, also an All-Star, hit a three-run homer to left field in the first inning, and the Stingers never looked back.

Also in the first, John Haberman added an RBI double to score Jake Stinnett, who added an RBI later in the game to give Willmar a 5-0 advantage.

The MoonDogs added two unearned runs to make the final score 5-2. Thomas Taylor earned the victory hurling four scoreless innings, while Spomer picked up his team-leading fifth save of the season.

Leadoff batter Rowan's 4-for-6 day with four runs scored in the twin bill lifted his average to .328.

Willmar, now 4-6 in the second half, will now have three days off for the Northwoods League All-Star Break before playing a doubleheader at Duluth on Wednesday, starting at 5:05 p.m. at Wade Stadium.