WILLMAR - The Bismarck Larks didn't let the Willmar Stingers relish first place for long.
The Larks blasted the Stingers 17-8 Thursday night that featured a 15-2 lead at one point in the fifth inning. The Stingers, now 18-9 in the second half, fell to a half game back in the North Division standings.
Bismarck kicked off the game with four runs in the top of the first inning, racking up four hits including three doubles. Willmar pulled one back in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI double by Nic Hernandez but it was Bismarck's night. The Larks chased Willmar starter Sir Gomez in the second inning, scoring six runs, highlighted by a grand slam by first baseman Matthew Warkentin. Warkentin finished with a monster day, going 3-for-6 with nine RBIs and another run to complement his grand slam.
Hernandez put up the strongest day for the Stingers, going 4-for-4 with three doubles, four RBIs and a pair of runs scored. He also pitched the ninth inning as the third Willmar position player to toe the rubber. Infielder John Trousdale threw a scoreless seventh inning, striking out two batters, which was echoed by teammate Matt Rudick in the eighth inning.
Willmar will look for better start in game two of the two-game set with the Larks at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Bill Taunton Stadium.
Bismarck 17, Willmar 8
Bismarck 462 120 002-17 19 2
Willmar 101 004 110-8 11 4
Hitting - Bismarck: Conner Bock 2-6 rbi-3 r-2, Matthew Warkentin 3-6 hr gs rbi-9 r-2... Willmar: Jaxon Hallmark 0-2 rbi r, Tyler Reichenborn 0-4 r, Nic Hernandez 4-4 2b-3 rbi-4 r-2, Caleb Ricca 1-4, Chad Musser 2-5 r, Davis Elliot 1-5 r, Carter Schmidt 2-5 rbi r, Sebastian Samuels 1-4 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Bismarck: Bruce Bell (W) 5-4-2-1-4-7, Peter Joseph 1-4-4-4-1-0, Parker Dyson 0.2-2-1-1-0-0, Scott Meylan 1.1-1-1-0-0-1, Chris Roycroft 1-0-0-0-0-1... Willmar: Sir Gomez (L) 1.1-7-9-8-2-2, Michael Bohlke 4.2-9-6-3-3-3, John Trousdale 1-1-0-0-0-2, Matt Rudick 1-1-0-0-0-0-2, Hernandez 1-1-2-2-1-0
Willmar 9, Fergus Falls 3
Closing out the regular season on the road, Willmar Post 1639 opened Thursday's doubleheader with a victory over Fergus Falls, 9-3.
Willmar blew the game wide open with a seven-run second inning. Post 1639 got RBI singles in the frame from Dalton Ogdahl, Chase Dirksen, Tanner Bauman, Asaiah Smith and Ashton Gregory, as well as a two-run single via Jett Salonek. Two more runs came home in the top of the seventh after Salonek scored on a wild pitch and Dirksen cracked an RBI double.
Adam Bengtson went the distance to get the win on the mound for Willmar, striking out five while allowing three unearned runs on seven hits and no walks.
Willmar 070 000 2-9 11 6
Fergus Falls 000 300 0-3 7 1
Hitting - Willmar: Tanner Bauman 2-4 3b r rbi, Asaiah Smith 1-4 r rbi, Ashton Gregory 1-4 rbi, Jett Salonek 3-3 r rbi-2, Dylan Arndorfer 0-4 r, Andrew Baumgart 1-3 r, Dalton Ogdahl 1-3 r rbi, Chase Dirksen 2-3 2b r rbi-2, Jack Roehl 0-3 r, Jon Volk 0-0 r ... FF: Brock Kotschevar 1-4, Michael Wiederich 1-4, Ian Stumbo 1-3 r, Arik Heacox 0-4 rbi, Jack Baker 2-3 r, Jack Culbertson 2-3 r.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Adam Bengtson (W) 7-7-3-0-5-0 ... FF: Jack Culbertson (L) 1.1-5-6-6-0-1, Brock Kotschevar 5.2-6-3-3-4-2.
Willmar 2, Fergus Falls 1
In a five-inning nightcap, Willmar capitalized on a Fergus Falls error to sweep Thursday's doubleheader, 2-1.
Tied 1-1 after three innings, pinch runner Jack Roehl scored the game-winning run after an infield error on a Ashton Gregory ground ball in the top of the fourth.
Post 1639 got the first run of the game in the top of the first on another error as Andrew Baumgart crossed home after a Zach Schultz grounder to third base.
Baumgart, Sam Huseby and Dominic Amon each accounted for Willmar's three hits, all singles. Baumgart also picked up the victory after giving up just one run and two hits with two strikeouts in three innings. Dalton Ogdahl held Fergus Falls hitless over two innings to secure the save.
Willmar 100 10-2 3 1
Fergus Falls 010 00-1 2 2
Hitting - Willmar: Andrew Baumgart 1-2 r, Jack Roehl 0-0 r, Sam Huseby 1-2, Zach Schultz 0-2 rbi, Dominic Amon 1-2 ... FF: Wyatt Goetz 1-2 r, Matt Scott 1-2 2b, Jack Culbertson 0-0 rbi.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Andrew Baumgart (W) 3-2-1-1-2-0, Dalton Ogdahl (S) 2-0-0-0-3-2 ... FF: Dustin Duenow 3-3-1-0-6-3, Arik Heacox (L) 2-0-1-0-3-2.