Northwoods League: Stingers' lead down to 1.5 games after falling in ninth
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stingers took a 5-0 lead in the first inning, but the Duluth Huskies kept chipping away and rallying for a 10-7 win Thursday at Bill Taunton Stadium.
The Stingers fell to 16-10 in the Northwoods League North Division and had their lead in the division cut to 1.5 games ahead of second-place Duluth. Willmar's magic number - the combination of Stinger wins and Huskie losses needed to clinch a playoff spot - remained at eight, with nine games remaining in the regular season.
Down 7-0, the Huskies began their comeback with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. They added two in the sixth on a two-run single by Connor Szczerba and tied the game in the seventh with six straight singles to score three runs off Willmar pitchers Andrew Pulido and Mark Lukowski.
The game remained tied until the ninth when Duluth got to Willmar closer Brady Anderson for three more runs on RBI-singles by Taylor Burch, Paul Karmeris and James Ramsey.
Willmar took advantage of some sloppy fielding, putting up five runs in the first inning off Duluth starter Joey Webb.
With two outs and runners on first and second in the first inning, Kenny Roberts hit a grounder to third that Duluth third baseman Karmeris fielded cleanly but overthrew first base, allowing a run to come in.
Hunter Dozier followed with a single off the glove of Webb to score another run and Zach Benson singled to the shortstop to score Roberts and put Dozier on third.
Brennan Moore came through with the big hit, lining a sharp single up the middle to score Benson and Dozier and giving the Stingers a 5-0 lead.
Willmar added one in the second on a Dillon Haupt single and one in the third on a Mitch Rowan groundout.
The Stingers face the Huskies again 7:05 p.m. today in Willmar.