Weather Forecast


Northwoods Baseball: Mankato thrashes Stingers

The MoonDogs' Kyle Turner (33) beats out an infield bunt in the second inning as the throw comes in to Stingers' Steven Brault. Mankato built a 7-1 lead after two innings. Tribune photos by Rand Middleton.

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stingers stumbled out of the gate on a cold and rainy opening night, surrendering 16 hits and making several mental and physical mistakes in a 10-4 loss to the Mankato MoonDogs on Wednesday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.

Starting pitcher Scott Lieser put the Stingers in an early hole, giving up three runs in the first inning and four more in the second.

Lieser allowed 12 hits, but the defense didn't do him any favors.

Mankato's Kyle Turner led off the game with a single to left and he wound up on third base after an errant throw by left fielder Forrestt Allday got past first baseman Steven Brault.

It was the first of four Stinger errors.

Willmar started with a shorthanded roster, but Stingers' manager Matt Hollod said those plays still need to made.

"I don't care if it's the first game or the 50th game, we started really poorly," Hollod said. "Yeah we were down guys, but we had guys at positions they played before and we were making errors."

After Turner made it to third he scored on the next batter when Jorge Flores blooped a single down the right field line. Flores was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Blair Moore single, but after a strikeout, J.M. Twitchell crushed a home run to deep center for two more runs.

The Stingers responded with a run in the bottom half on an RBI-single by Brault.

Two more Stinger errors in the second powered another Mankato rally, this time for four runs, and the Stingers were quickly down 7-1.

Hollod said it was a frustrating loss, but kept it in perspective.

"You can't get too wrapped up in it when it's the first game and you've got 69 more to go," he said.

Willmar pushed across two more in the fifth and one in the sixth to make it 7-4, but that was the closest it would get.

Josh Hoekstra relieved Lieser in the sixth inning and went the rest of the way and allowed the final three runs to the MoonDogs.

Lieser was tagged for seven runs to take the loss. He struck out six.

Mankato catcher Zach Luevanos had four hits and Flores was 3-for-6 with two RBIs.

Michael Suchy, who arrived in the middle of the game and entered as a designated hitter, was the only Stinger with multiple hits. He was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Notes: St. Cloud State's Karl Sorensen, who started at third base, was signed Wednesday afternoon to a temporary contract ... Brooks Beisner will have an MRI on his injured wrist today ... Michael Wills (Memphis) was dropped from the roster and will not play for the Stingers this season ... Former Kansas City Royals ace Bret Saberhagen threw out the ceremonial first pitch

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.

(320) 214-4332