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Stingers fall to MoonDogs, stay in 1st place

MANKATO — The Willmar Stingers clung to a half-game lead in the Northwoods League North Division second half, as they lost to the Mankato MoonDogs 10-5 on Sunday at Franklin Rogers Park.

Second-place Waterloo also lost Sunday, 9-8 to Battle Creek.

The Stingers, already playoff bound, have a chance at home-field advantage if they finish the season with the best overall record, but with six games left could go down to the wire.

Staked to an early 4-1 lead, Stingers’ starter Andrew Towns allowed four runs in the second with a pair of two-run home runs to Mankato’s Dalton DeLeon and Brett Synek.

Willmar notched one in the fifth on Max Dutto’s RBI double, briefly tying the game 5-5.

The Stingers had chased starter Brandon Zywicki after just one out in the first inning. Frankie Rios, Sean Beesley and Reagan Fowler lead off the game with a single, walk and RBI double.

Nick Rivera followed with a groundout to score Beesley, and Fowler came in on Casey Hughston’s single. After anoth er walk, Garrett Ring came in for Zywicki, and surrendered another walk and a fielder’s choice to score Hughston with the fourth run of the inning.

Mankato put up another four-spot in the eighth, with three hits and three walks off Willmar reliever Christian Turnipseed.

Towns took the loss, and Mankato reliever Jacob Westerhouse was the winner.

The Stingers next play 7:05 p.m. today against Mankato at Bill Taunton Stadium.