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St. Cloud fights off Stingers' rally

Willmar shortstop Alec Sole holds his glove up after tagging out St. Cloud’s Luke Weber on a steal attempt for the first out of the second inning Monday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ben Brewster

WILLMAR — Down 8-1 in the sixth inning, the Willmar Stingers mounted a six-run comeback but come up just short, losing 8-7 to the St. Cloud Rox on Monday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The loss dropped them to 12-6 in the Northwoods League North Division and snapped a four-game winning streak. They stayed in first place, a half-game ahead of the Waterloo Bucks in the standings.

Willmar’s Nick Halamandaris struck out against St. Cloud reliever Adam Maxon to end the game with the tying run on first.

The Rox roughed up Willmar starter Max Homick for four runs in five innings and tagged relievers Tyler Hamer and Andrew Crook for four more to give St. Cloud its seven-run cushion.

Homick, who took the loss, struck out four and walked three.

St. Cloud hitters pounded out 10 hits and drew seven walks against Stinger pitchers.

Willmar put up a four-spot in the bottom of the sixth, starting with a Marc Flores leadoff home run, his fourth of the season. They added three more runs on three hits and a St. Cloud error, capped by a Colton Bottomley single that scored two.

St. Cloud made three more errors in the seventh, and Willmar capitalized with two runs to make it 8-7.

Kuhn was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Flores, Zack Tillery and Chris Barnett each had two hits.

Flores is fifth in the NWL with a .359 batting average and is tied for second with four homers.

The Stingers next play at 6:05 p.m. today in a doubleheader at Alexandria.

Notes: 2010 Stinger Mikey Reynolds has signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Braves organization; Reynolds was a fifth-round draft choice of the Braves on June 7 … Other Stingers to sign include Andre Wheeler and Dillon Haupt with the Chicago White Sox, Isaac Ballou with the Washington Nationals and Jack Cleary with the Milwaukee Brewers