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Stingers extend winning streak

WILLMAR—The Willmar Stingers extended their winning streak to a season-best four games thanks to another night full of clutch hitting against the Duluth Huskies in a 3-1 victory on Thursday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Willmar right-hander Luke Chevalier kept the Huskies at bay for seven strong innings, setting up Josh Bissonette for the go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

Bissonette drove in his second run of the game when he plated Marcus Still on a single to left field to Stingers up 2-1. Danny Rodriguez followed up his two-homer performance on Wednesday with a single to score Bissonette for his second hit of the game.

Calvin Coker entered with the winning run on first and one out in the ninth but escaped the jam with a pop up and a strikeout to pick up his second save in three days.

Starting pitching has been incredibly effective for the Stingers during their streak, and Chevalier's outing was no different. He allowed just one run on six hits and two walks over seven innings in his best outing of the season.

Connor Herd pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his third outing with Willmar to pick up his first victory of the season.

Bissonette also drove in the Stingers' first run of the game with a fourth-inning single to score Brady Shockey from third, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. The Stingers infielder has now reached base safely in 15 consecutive games is batting .339 with a .887 OPS.

Willmar's speed was once again a big factor in its win with who else but Marcus Still leading the charge. Following a leadoff single in the eighth, Still swiped second base for his league-best 28th stolen base. He advanced to third on a Shockey grounder, which could have resulted in a rally-killing double play, and then came around to score on Bissonette's go-ahead hit.

With the win, Willmar broke out of a tie with Duluth for second place in the division in the second half and remained one-half of a game behind Rochester for first place. The Stingers moved to 24-21 overall on the season.

Willmar 3, Duluth 1

Duluth 000 010 000-1 7 0

Willmar 000 100 02x-3 9 0

Hitting - Duluth: Isaac Collins 2-3 rbi, Jake Smith 2-4 ... Willmar: Marcus Still 1-4 r, Brady Shockey 1-4 2b r, Josh Bissonette 2-4 rbi-2 r, Danny Rodriguez 2-4 rbi, Luke Becker 2-3 3b, Tyler Reichenborn 1-3 3b

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Duluth: Piero Amador 5.2-5-1-1-1-3, Trevor Smisek 0.2-1-0-0-1-1, Greg Brown (L) 1.2-3-2-2-0-0 ... Willmar: Luke Chevalier 7-6-1-1-2-2, Connor Herd (W) 1.1-1-0-0-2-3, Calvin Coker (Sv) 0.2-0-0-0-0-1

Curt Hogg

Curt Hogg is a sports reporter at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016.