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With playoff hopes gone, Stingers go flat in the rain

Tribune Staff Report

THUNDER BAY, Ontario -- The Stingers offense struggled again as Willmar lost a rain-shortened game to the Thunder Bay Border Cats 6-1 on Thursday in Thunder Bay.

The Stingers, who turned a triple play in the loss, fell to 6 games behind the Alexandria Beetles in the second half of the Northwoods League North Division season.

Scott Lieser took the loss for the Stingers, allowing five runs in 2Zc innings of work. He didn't record a strikeout, one start after striking out a Stingers' team-record 10 batters against Mankato on Aug. 5.

Willmar turned its triple play in the second inning with Mike Hubbard on second base, Kevin Taylor on third and David Fallon at bat. David Fallon hit a ground ball to Stingers' first baseman Eduardo Gonzalez. Gonzalez stepped on first for the force out and threw to shortstop Jason Leblebijian. Taylor, on third base, did not try to advance home on the ground ball, but Hubbard ran from second to third. Leblebijian tagged out the runners, who were both caught off base.

The Border Cats got the first run on the board in the second inning on a Hubbard RBI-single to score Kyle Mossbarger.

The big blow came in the third inning, after Lieser issued a leadoff walk to Cullen Mahoney and hits to Brett Kay and Alex Guthrie. With Guthrie on first, Ino Patron hit a two-run home run to put the Border Cats ahead 5-0.

The Stingers scored their lone run in the fifth inning on an Eduardo Gonzalez sacrifice fly to score Chris Woolley.

Michael Shreves completed the game for the Stingers, pitching 11/3 innings and allowing one run.

Ryan Lucero started for Thunder Bay and completed all five innings to pick up the win. He struck out two and allowed one run on six hits.