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Stingers win three of four over Eau Claire

Tribune photo by Ben Brewster Willmar first baseman Reagan Fowler flips to pitcher Tyler Cohen covering first on a ground ball to retire Eau Claire’s Peter Van Gansen during the third inning Sunday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. 1 / 2
Tribune photo by Ben Brewster Willmar’s Casey Hughston follows throw on his grand slam in the third inning of Game 2 in a doubleheader against the Eau Claire Express on Sunday at Bill Taunton Stadium. 2 / 2

WILLMAR — The Willmar Stingers played eight games in four days — and won five of them.

They capped their string of doubleheaders with a split against Eau Claire, dropping Game 1 8-7 and winning the nightcap 7-3 on Sunday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Casey Hughston led the way in Game 2, smacking a third-inning grand slam, and Nick Rivera also went deep, a solo shot, for his team-leading 10th homer of the season.

Rivera, one of three Stingers going to the Northwoods League All-Star Game this week, will participate in the Home Run Challenge on Tuesday against other NWL sluggers.

Tyler Cohen went four innings in his first Stingers start, striking out six and walking none.

The Stingers very nearly took Game 1, when they took a 5-3 lead into the top of the seventh, but Eau Claire struck for four hits and five runs in its half of the inning.

Game 1 also saw the first home runs of the season for Sean Beesley and Max Dutto.

Willmar improved to 14-9, overtaking Eau Claire in the standings and now hold first place by half a game over the Express in the Northwoods League North Division second half.

The All-Star break begins today, and the Stingers don’t play again until 7:05 p.m. Thursday at home against Thunder Bay.

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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