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Stingers end home skid at 3

(Tribune photo by Tom Larson) Willmar Stingers starting pitcher Ben Burns delivers a pitch against the Rochester Honkers Thursday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Burns allowed just a run on four hits over six innings.

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stingers won for a third time in four games and ended a three-game home losing streak with a 7-3 Northwoods League victory over Rochester on Thursday night before a crowd of 1,109 at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The Stingers broke open a 3-3 game with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, thanks to Mitch Rowan's two-run single and some messy defense by the Honkers.

Stingers reliever Tanner Banks, who pitch hitless ball the final 21/3 innings, set the Honkers down in order in the ninth. He struck out three and didn't allow a walk to improve to 4-1.

The Stingers, now 11-10 in the second half of the Northwoods League season, play the Honkers in the second game of a two-game set at 7:05 p.m. today in Willmar.

The Stingers used power to take an early lead. Pat Stover hit a solo home run in the second inning and Jason Leblebijian and Sean Dwyer both hit solo shots in the third to stake Willmar to a 3-0 lead.

Rochester got on the board with a run in the fourth, and the Honkers tied the game in the seventh when Erik Mattingly doubled in a run and later scored on Tony Kemp's sacrifice fly.

In the eighth, Stover doubled and was replaced by pinch runner Ryan Dettman. Dwyer walked and both runners advanced when Mitch Delfino reached on an error. Dettman scored the go-ahead run on the play.

Garrett Borba coaxed a two-out walk and Dwyer scored the second run of the inning on a wild pitch. Rowan then stroked a single that brought in Delfino and Borba.