Northwoods League: Suchy, Fischer lead Stingers past Bucks
WILLMAR -- Cleanup hitter Michael Suchy had a performance to match his title, hitting a grand slam to power the Willmar Stingers past the Waterloo Bucks 10-4 on Friday at Bill Taunton Stadium.
With the Stingers up 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Bucks' starting pitcher Rick Dodridge loaded the bases to give way to reliever Gunner Johnson, and Suchy greeted Johnson by hitting his second pitch deep over the left-centerfield fence.
Suchy, who is batting .344 for the Stingers, said he can feel himself getting into a groove at the plate.
"I was getting a lot tighter in my previous at bats," he said. "I just loosened up and cracked the barrel of the bat. It definitely feels good -- I've got to be a guy on the team that comes through in RBI situations."
Willmar improved to 4-6 and is tied for fourth place in the Northwoods League North Division. They travel to Thunder Bay today for a 5:05 game against the Border Cats.
The Stingers, who have struggled through the first 10 games of the season, started what could be a turnaround by taking two of three from the first-place Bucks.
The two wins saw Willmar's bats start to heat up with the Stingers scoring a combined 23 runs, though they managed just two in the loss on Thursday. They also got two strong starts from Andrew Pulido and Kyle Fischer in the series.
Fischer, who played for St. Cloud State in the spring, settled down after a rough first inning to give the Stingers six innings of two-run ball. He notched his first win of the season, striking out six and walking two.
The Bucks briefly led after scoring one off Fischer in the first inning, but the Stingers took a 2-1 lead in the third after loading the bases and getting RBI-walks from Suchy and Max Kuhn.
Suchy's grand slam made it 6-1 after Mitch Rowan, Forrestt Allday and Hunter Dozier hit three straight one-out singles in the bottom of the fourth.
They added insurance runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Suchy, a freshman out of Florida Gulf Coast, played in 45 games for the Eagles during the spring but didn't have a home run all season.
"It's been over a year," he said of his last home run, which came his senior year of high school.
Allday and Dozier each had four hits and Kenny Roberts and Rowan knocked two hits apiece, including Roberts' second home run of the season.
Notes: Brooks Beisner has left the team after breaking a bone in his wrist during the Stingers' first practice of the season last week ... Dozier's four hits raised his batting average to .529, though he doesn't have enough at bats to qualify for the Northwoods League leaderboard