Stingers win North, home field edge
THUNDER BAY - The Willmar Stingers locked up a division championship and capped their best Northwoods League regular season in franchise history with a 7-1 win over Thunder Bay on Sunday.
The win was Willmar's fifth straight and secured the North Division second-half championship and the No. 1 seed in the North playoffs.
The Stingers play host to No. 4-seed Mankato in a one-game playoff at 7:05 p.m. Monday at Bill Taunton Stadium. A win would pit the Stingers against the winner of the other North playoff matchup between first-half champion and No. 2-seed Bismarck and No. 3-seed Duluth on Tuesday. The Stingers would host that game based on the best overall North record.
If Willmar wins the North, the Stingers (48-24) would have home-field advantage against any South Division playoff team except Madison, which finished with 49 overall wins. The three-game NWL playoff series begins Wednesday.
Willmar's 48 wins are the most in franchise history, besting the team's 47-win campaign in 2015.
The Stingers will be making their fifth-straight postseason appearance and their sixth in the last seven years.
In addition, Willmar's Tyler Reichenborn and Nick Mears were named to the NWL Postseason All-Star team.
In 60 games, Reichenborn hit .327 with 10 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 21 runs batted in. He also drew 35 walks and stole nine bases.
Mears pitched in 14 games and had a win, six saves, a 1.39 ERA struck out 29 and walked just three in 19-1/3 innings.
On Sunday, Eric Yang hit a grand slam in Willmar's six-run third inning and three Stingers pitchers held the Border Cats off the scoreboard until the eighth inning.
Matt Rudick had two hits and drove in two runs and John Trousdale had two hits and an RBI.
On Saturday, Jayson Newman hit a first-inning grand slam and later struck out the side in the ninth to preserve Willmar's 8-5 win over the Border Cats.
Willmar's Joey Ortiz had three hits, including a double, and scored twice and Davis Elliot had two hits, including a double, drove in a run and scored a run.
Thunder Bay 1
Willmar 006 001 000-7 10 0
Thunder Bay 000 000 010-1 6 1
Hitting - Willmar: Matt Rudick 2-5 rbi-2, Joey Ortiz 0-3 r, Nic Hernandez 1-3 r, Sebastian Samuels 1-2, John Trousdale 2-4 rbi r, Jayson Newman 0-3 r, Eric Yang 1-4 hr rbi-4 r, Carter Schmidt 1-1, Shea Kramer 1-4 r, Davis Elliot 1-3 r ... Thunder Bay: Clayton Bodine 2-4
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Jonathan McKinney (W) 5-2-0-0-2-3, Michael Cartwright 1-1-0-0-0-0, Corey Binger 3-3-1-1-1-2 ... Thunder Bay: Keenan Eaton (L) 3-7-6-6-4-1, Owen Steele 1-0-0-0-1-2, Zach Edwards 1-0-0-0-0-1, Wryland McKnight 1-2-1-1-1-1, Charlie Bourbon 1-0-0-0-2-0, Drew Gooch 1-0-0-0-0-2, Omar Maldonado 1-1-0-0-1-1
Thunder Bay 5
Willmar 510 101 000-8 11 0
Thunder Bay 040 000 100-5 9 2
Hitting - Willmar: Joey Ortiz 3-4 2b r-2, Tyler Reichenborn 1-5 r, Eli Wilson 1-3 rbi r-2, John Trousdale 1-5 r, Jayson Newman 1-5 hr rbi-4 r, Davis Elliot 2-4 2b rbi r, Shea Kramer 1-5, Sebastian Samuels 1-4 rbi ... Thunder Bay: W Bourbon 2-3 3b rbi-3 4, Clayton Bodine 2-4 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Nick Dentoni (W) 6-7-4-4-3-8, Michael Bohlke 1-1-1-1-1-2, Nick Mears 1-1-0-0-0-2, Newman (Sv) 1-0-0-0-0-3 ... Thunder Bay: Drew Gooch (L) 1-4-5-5-1-0, Chris Fousek 5-6-3-2-2-0, Tyler Moskalyk 3-1-0-0-0-3
Milroy bounced back from a loss to New London-Spicer in the first Region 4C championship game to claim the region title with a win over the Twins on Sunday in Atwater.
Despite the loss, NLS earned a spot in the Class C state tournament. Raymond, which lost to NLS in the losers' bracket final, also earned a state berth.
Milroy's Matt Bauer had two home runs among his four hits and he drove in six runs and scored four times.
NLS' John Perkins and Derek Dolezal both homered.
Milroy 302 000 133-12 22 3
NLS 011 113 030-10 13 2
Hitting - Milroy: Matt Bauer 4-6 hr-2 rbi-6 r-4, Eric Dolan 2-4 hr rbi-2 r ... New London-Spicer: Jake Rambow 1-4 rbi r-2, John Perkins 3-5 hr rbi r, Mike Danielson 1-4 rbi r, Scott Rambow 1-3 rbi r, Austen Hadley 1-4 2b rbi r-2, Wyatt White 2-4 rbi-2, Derek Dolezal 1-5 hr rbi r, Andrew Bangen 2-4 rbi r, Ben Kulset 1-5 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Milroy: Isaac Schmitt 5-8-6-5-4-5, Bauer (W) 3-3-4-4-3-1, Nathan Duetz 1-2-0-0-0-1 ... New London-Spicer: Adam Nibaur 0.2-3-3-3-0-0, Grant Bangen 6.1-11-3-2-1-3, Patrick Courtney (L) 2-8-6-6-0-2
NLS 5, Milroy 2
Despite giving up nine hits and having six errors committed behind him, New London-Spicer's Ben Kulset effectively handcuffed Milroy on Sunday, forcing a deciding second game in the Region 4C championship.
Kulset allowed just two unearned runs. Adam Nibaur pitched a spotless ninth for the save.
Jake Rambow had three hits and scored three runs and John Perkins and Scott Rambow both had two hits and drove in two runs.
NLS 130 000 010-5 12 6
Milroy 010 001 000-2 9 2
Hitting - New London-Spicer: Jake Rambow 3-4 r-2, John Perkins 2-5 rbi-2 r, Mike Danielson 1-5, Scott Rambow 2-5 rbi-2, Austen Hadley 1-5 2b rbi, Derek Dolezal 1-4 r, Andrew Bangen 1-4 r, Ben Kulset 1-3 ... Milroy: Cody Greve 2b 3-4 rbi
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - New London-Spicer: Ben Kulset (W) 8-9-2-0-0-2, Adam Nibaur (Sv) 1-0-0-0-0-1 ... Milroy: Austin Duetz (L) 9-12-5-4-1-3
New London-Spicer earned a crack at Milroy with an eight-inning win over Raymond in the Region 4C losers' bracket final.
Jake Rambow had four hits and drove in a run, Scott Rambow had two hits and drove in three runs and Dalton Rambow doubled and drove in two runs. Adam Nibauer worked all eight innings, striking out six, to get the win.
Raymond 001 010 00-2 5 3
NLS 000 122 07-12 16 3
Hitting - Raymond: Mike Jeseritz 2-4, Tyler Steen 1-2 2b rbi, Eric Hulterstrum 1-3, Herman Solomon 0-3 r, Brett Swanson 1-3 r ... New London-Spicer: Jake Rambow 4-5 2b rbi r-2, John Perkins 2-3 r-2, Mike Danielson 1-5 rbi, Scott Rambow 2-5 rbi-3, Austen Hadley 2-5 2b rbi r-2, Wyatt White 1-3 r, Dalton Rambow 1-2 2b rbi-2 r, Andrew Bangen 2-2 rbi r, Ben Kulset 1-4 2b rbi r, Brady Damhoff 0-0 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Raymond: Jose Rosario (L) 5-7-3-2-1-5, Brandon Wedel 2-2-2-2-1-5, Zach Nelson 0.1-5-7-6-0-1, Steen 0-2-0-0-0-0 ... New London-Spicer: Adam Nibaur (W) 8-5-2-1-1-6
Division II Junior
Starbuck placed third
Holy Family Catholic defeated Aitkin 14-13 to win the Junior Legion Division II state championship in Montevideo.
Starbuck, which lost to Aitkin 5-0 in the semifinals, rebounded to down International Falls 5-2 in the third-place game.
Caledonia edged Sacred Heart/MACCRAY 5-4 for the consolation championship.