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Stingers pound Bucks with 22-hit attack

Willmar's Hutton Moyer rounds third after his three-run homer and is congratulated by manager Drew Saberhagen during the second inning of the Stingers’ game against Waterloo on Wednesday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ben Brewster

WILLMAR — 0-for-3 and 0-for-4 are commonplace in baseball. But 0-for-9? 

That’s exactly what happened to Willmar infielder Hutton Moyer in his first game with the team two-and-a-half weeks ago, a 16-inning Stingers’ win at Rochester on June 22.

Since then, the Pepperdine sophomore has recorded four multi-hit games, including two hits — one a three-run home run — and four RBIs in the Stingers’ 15-4 win over the Waterloo Bucks on Wednesday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Moyer said the 0-for-9 night was a first for him.

“It was pretty awesome, honestly,” he said. “It was surreal. I didn’t think it could be done but I did it.”

The Stingers pounded out 22 hits for their 15 runs, both season highs, and got home runs from Moyer, Jack Ross and Casey Hughston.

Hughston had five hits and Ross, Moyer’s teammate at Pepperdine, had three hits and four RBIs. 

“Ross has been hot all week,” Moyer said. “I’m just trying to hit like him.”

The Stingers scored in every inning but the fourth, punishing Waterloo starting pitcher Tim Shannon for nine hits and seven runs in two innings.

Stingers’ manager Drew Saberhagen said everyone was hitting the ball hard.

“The guys just swung it really well and stayed locked in for nine innings,” Saberhagen said. “Pretty special night by the offense. One through nine, we had a lot of tough outs. When you’re hitting one through nine it’s going to be a long night for the other team.”

Ross laced a two-run triple down the right field line in the first to help give the Stingers a 3-0 lead. An inning later, Moyer hit his second homer of the season to deep right-center, scoring Sean Beesley and Brian Pruett, who had hit back-to-back singles.

“I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Moyer said. “We had men on first on second and no outs, just trying to do my job and get them over. But he left the pitch up and I hammered it.” 

Willmar tacked on three more in the sixth on four hits, a walk and a hit batter, and three in the seventh on Ross’ two-run homer and Frankie Rios’ run-scoring single.

Lost in the offensive explosion was the pitching performance from Willmar’s Kurt Yinger.

Making his fifth start, the junior out of Portland scattered six hits and allowed one earned run in seven innings, striking out seven and walking none, lowering his season earned-run average to 3.06.

“He was dominant,” Saberhagen said. “He kept his pitch count down. Just a great team win tonight.”

Colton Boucher pitched the final two innings in his Stingers’ debut and retired all six men he faced.

The Stingers improved to 5-3 and are in second place in the Northwoods League North Division second half. They host St. Cloud 7:05 p.m. today at Bill Taunton Stadium. Tonight’s game was scheduled to be a doubleheader, making up one of June’s rainouts, but the makeup game has been moved to July 14, originally scheduled as an off day.

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.

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