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Stingers can’t cap sweep of Honkers

Willmar’s Dan Motl breaks his bat grounding out to second base to end the second inning in a game against Rochester Sunday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ben Brewster

WILLMAR — The Willmar offense took a big lead early, but the Rochester Honkers mounted a furious comeback to beat the Stingers 11-8 on Sunday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

In the second straight slugfest between the two teams, the Stingers plated seven runs in the third inning to take an 8-1 lead.

But the Honkers picked away at it, scoring one in the fourth, four in the fifth and three in the sixth, with two insurance runs coming in the eighth.

John Schuknect was 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI, and Connor Schaefbauer was 3-for-5 with three runs scored.

Andrew Schultz added a home run and scored four times.

The Honkers pounded out 16 hits in all, and only No. 9 batter Ryne Roper went without a hit.

In the Stingers’ big third inning, they sent 12 men to the plate and got RBI singles from Jack Ross, Casey Hughston and Troy Kuhn, and scored on bases-loaded walks by Dan Motl and Max Dutto.

Hughston had two hits and drove in three, and Hutton Moyer scored twice.

A.J. Puckett took the loss in relief, and Honkers’ reliever Brandon Stennis was the winner.

The Stingers wrap up the first half 6:35 p.m. today at Alexandria.

They fell to 21-8 in the Northwoods League North Division and clinched a playoff berth with Saturday’s 10-9 victory.