NWL Baseball: Rox rock Stingers

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WILLMAR - The Willmar Stingers would have needed a field goal and two touchdowns with both extra points just to send Tuesday's game against St. Cloud to extra innings.

The Rox notched 19 hits and walked eight times in an offensive outburst that led to a 20-3 blowout win against the Stingers at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Displaying patience at the plate and punishing any mistakes Willmar pitchers made, St. Cloud scored three or more runs in every inning between the fourth and seventh. The biggest inning came in the form of an eight-run seventh as the Rox grabbed reached the 20-run mark.

It may have been hard to believe once the 3-hour, 33-minute affair came to a close, but the Stingers at one point held a 3-2 lead after a Danny Rodriguez RBI single plated Marcus Still in the third.

When St. Cloud came to the plate in the top of the fourth, Still came inches away from robbing Keaton Kringlen's home run to lead off the inning, but the ball popped out of his glove as he squeezed it shut.

From there, the floodgates swung wide open.

The Rox scored four runs in the fourth inning and three in both the fifth and sixth before their seventh-inning outburst.

St. Cloud tagged Stingers starting pitcher Cameron Churchill for six runs over 3-1/3 innings en route to scoring 18 unanswered runs and setting a team-high for runs and hits this season.

Likewise, it was the most runs allowed in a game this season by the Stingers, who used seven pitchers to get through the game.

The bad news for the Stingers on the evening was obvious. The silver lining, though? It only counted as one loss, and the Stingers remain just one game back of first-place Mankato after the MoonDogs fell to Waterloo. Eau Claire also suffered a loss, meaning that, if results hold over the last 10 games of the season, the Stingers would be in the playoffs.

A well-timed off-day awaits Willmar today before it begins an important two-game series in Waterloo. The Bucks lead the Stingers by one game for the top Wild Card spot in the North Division in a race that could become pivotal if Eau Claire winds up winning the second-half title.

St. Cloud 20, Willmar 3

Rox 020 433 800-20 19 3

Stingers 012 000 000-3 6 0

Hitting - St. Cloud: Drew Avans 3-7 r rbi, Keaton Kringlen 3-4 hr r-5 rbi-2, Michael Busch 3-5 r-3 rbi-3, Mason Mamarella 3-4 rbi-3 r-2 ... Willmar: Luke Becker 1-4 r, Danny Rodriguez 1-4 rbi, Tyler Reichenborn 1-4 rbi, Alex Reyes 0-2 bb-2 r, Marcus Still 2-3 r, Josh Bissonette 1-3

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - St. Cloud: Carlo Graffeo (W) 6-6-3-2-3-3, Will Reese 2-0-0-0-2-1, Shelby Lackey 1-0-0-0-2-2 ... Willmar: Cameron Churchill (L) 3.1-7-6-6-1-3, Connor Jahn 1-3-3-3-1-1, Kale Latorre 0.2-0-0-0-2-1, Braxton Johns 1-4-3-3-0-0, Louie Varland 0-3-7-7-4-0, Stone Kelly 1-1-1-1-0-0, Anthony Garza 2-1-0-0-0-0