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NWL Baseball: Anderson, Stingers down Huskies

Tribune photo by Tom Larson Willmar Stingers base runner Dan Motl rounds third and heads home to score a second-inning run against the Duluth Huskies on Wednesday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.

WILLMAR — Brady Anderson’s second start of the season went a lot better than the first.

The Willmar righthander was dominant, throwing eight innings of one-hit ball, in the Stingers’ 7-0 victory over the Duluth Huskies on Wednesday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

In Anderson’s first start of the season May 29, it seemed everything the St. Cloud Rox hit found a hole. On Wednesday, everything the Huskies hit for the first five innings found the glove of a Stingers’ fielder.

Duluth’s Alex Greene broke up the no-hitter with one out in the sixth on a ground ball through the right side of the infield. But he was quickly erased on a double play and Anderson didn’t miss a beat.

“Everything was kind of working tonight,” Anderson said. “I had good command of everything, everything was moving a lot. I got some bad contact and good help from the defense.”

He faced two over the minimum through the first five innings, allowing baserunners on a walk and an error. After Greene’s hit, Anderson gave up two more walks in the seventh and eighth innings but escaped each time.

“Brady was phenomenal,” Stingers’ manager Drew Saberhagen said. “That was perfect game-type stuff. A couple close pitches on some walks and one hard hit ball on the right side. He had everything: fastball location and his changeup was unbelievable.”

Saberhagen said luck was the difference between Anderson’s two starts.

“I thought he had very similar stuff (in his first start),” Saberhagen said. “It was just a matter of those bloopers and bleeders fell in, and tonight we had guys standing right there and the defense made some good plays.”

Duluth starter Riley Sanderson may have matched zeroes with him if not for four Huskie errors in the first two innings.

The Stingers took a 2-0 lead in the first when Dan Motl walked and Sean Beesley singled to lead off the game. Sam Hall hit a sharp grounder that Duluth shortstop Max Bartlett couldn’t handle, allowing Motl to score, and Beesley scored two batters later on Max Dutto’s sacrifice fly.

The second inning was more of the same. Alex Borglin drew a leadoff walk, reached third on a stolen base and an error and scored on Scotty Smith’s groundout. Motl then reached on an error by second baseman Chase Kiefer and scored on Beesley’s single to left that got past left fielder Vinny Rodriguez, the third error of the inning.

In all, the Stingers hung three unearned runs on Sanderson, and capitalized on the four errors and three walks.

“I think we’ve done a better job of that going forward,” Saberhagen said. “Opening night we had bases loaded and nobody out and couldn’t score — the last couple nights when we’ve had a runner on third and less than two outs, we’ve found a way to get them in.”

They added insurance in the sixth on a Smith two-run double to deep left-center, and one more in the eighth on a Beesley sacrifice fly.

Anderson struck out five and walked three in eight innings. He finished the eighth with 109 pitches, one under the NWL pitch limit, and was replaced by T.J. Whidby, who shut down the Huskies in the ninth.

The Stingers got some unfortunate news about assistant coach Matt Passauer, who suffered a broken jaw in two places during Tuesday’s game after getting hit by a foul ball.

Saberhagen said Passauer should return to the Stingers when healthy.

“He’s a tough, tough guy,” Saberhagen said. “He tried to stay in the dugout for the whole game. He was very upbeat (Wednesday), and more worried about when he’ll be able to coach again.”

Willmar improved to 6-3 in the Northwoods League North Division, and are tied with the Rochester Honkers for second place. They play Duluth again 7:05 p.m. today in Willmar.

Notes: The Stingers added RHP Ben Gullo (Eastern Kentucky) this week … Loyola Marymount pitcher Brandon Horth has been removed from the roster … Loyola Marymount pitcher/infielder Tyler Cohen has mono and it’s unknown if he will play this summer.

Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

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