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Stingers lack key hits in loss to Honkers

Willmar Stingers pitcher Nick Lackney throws a pitch on Thursday night against Rochester at Bill Taunton Stadium. Curt Hogg

WILLMAR - The Rochester Honkers jumped out to a big lead early en route to a 7-4 defeat of the Willmar Stingers on Thursday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The Honkers plated three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to claim a 6-0 lead. The Stingers bats woke up starting in the sixth inning, but too many missed opportunities ended up being the difference.

Getting on base was not the problem for the Stingers, but, rather, it wasn't the team's night for hits with runners in scoring position to fall.

Willmar loaded the bases with one out three times—in the third, sixth and seventh—but failed to produce any runs in those spots. The tying run also came to the plate in the ninth inning with one away, but Honkers reliever Spencer Johnson worked out of trouble to get the save.

The Stingers out-hit the Honkers 11-9, drew four walks and had three batters hit-by-pitch, but ended up leaving 14 men on base.

The loss was the third in a row for Willmar, dropping it one game behind Eau Claire for first place in the North Division's second-half standings.

A pair of unearned runs opened the scoring for Rochester in the fourth inning. After the first two batters reached base, Lackney got Kenyon Yovan to hit into a likely double play, but an error led to two runs and no outs on the play.

Lackney finished the game after 5-1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits. Kale Latorre took over in relief and held the Honkers to one run while striking out five over 3-2/3 frames.

Marcus Still tied the Stingers franchise record for stolen bases in a single season with his 34th swipe in the first inning.

Five different batters—Luke Becker, Nolan Bumstead, Josh Bissonette, Caleb Ledbetter and Harrison Schnurbusch notched two hits apiece for Willmar.

Stingers manager Eric Vasquez and Honkers manager Trevor Hairgrove were both ejected from the game at separate points in the seventh inning. The official word was that home plate umpire Tyler Norton removed them from the game for arguing balls and strikes.

Rochester 7, Willmar 4

Honkers 000 303 100-7 9 2

Stingers 000 002 110-4 11 1

Hitting - Rochester: David Noworyta 2-4 rbi r-2, Kenyon Yovan 1-3 rbi r-2, Johnathan fleek 2-3 rbi ... Willmar: Luke Becker 2-4 r rbi, Nolan Bumstead 2-5 r, Josh Bissonette 2-4 r, Caleb Ledbetter 2-3 r, Harrison Schnurbusch 2-4

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Rochester: Chia-Ching Ho (W) 5.1-5-2-2-4-1, Jacob Green 0.2-0-0-0-0-0, Spencer Johnson 3-6-2-2-1-3 ... Willmar: Nick Lackney (L) 5.1-6-6-4-4-3, Kale Latorre 3.2-3-1-1-1-5

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. 

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