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Stingers rally to win opener, 6-4

(Tribune photo by Rand Middleton) Sean Dwyer starts his second season with the Willmar Stingers with the team's first base hit of the 2011 campaign, a single to right-center field in the second inning. Dwyer finished 3-for-4.

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stringers climbed out of a 4-0 hole, scoring at least one run in each of the last four innings and went on to defeat the Thunder Bay Border Cats 6-4 in the Northwoods League season opener Wednesday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The opener drew 1,187 fans.

Sean Dwyer, who turned down an professional contract with the San Diego Padres and returned to the Stingers for a second season, went 3-for-4 and drove in one run. Jordan Smith, a first-year player from Raymond, was the starting catcher and responded with a 2-for-4 performance while driving in a run. Smith is on a 10-day temporary contract.

Thunder Bay scored all four of its runs in the second inning with only two hits. Thomas Taylor, the Stingers' starter, walked two batters and hit another in the inning. Steve Rindelaub provided the big hit with a two-run single.

Taylor settled down after that and allowed only three hits in 52/3 innings. Tanner Bank got the win with 21/3 hitless innings of relief. Scott Zuloaga pitched a scoress ninth for the save.

The Stingers started their rally by scoring single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings before taking the lead with a three-run eighth.

The eighth inning outburst started with Taylor Zupcioc's one-out single. Jason Leblebijian and Dwyer followed with consecutive singles to load the bases.

Jake Stinnett's groundout plated Zupcic to tie the game 4-4. Leblebijian scored the go-ahead run when John Haberman reached on an error and Dwyer came across on Mitch Rowan's single.

Rowan scored the Stingers' first run in the fifth inning after reaching on a fielder's choice, stealing second and scoring on Anthony Hincy's one-out single.

In the sixth, Leblebijian reached second base on a one-out error and scored on Dwyer's single.

Rowan then reached on an error with one out in the seventh, stole second and scored on Smith's single.