WILLMAR - Willmar Legion Post 167 stumbled out of the starting gates to the summer season as Glenwood/Lowry used an early start to win 6-0 Monday evening. Glenwood/Lowry opened up the game with two runs in the first inning against Willmar starter Caleb Ditmarson and proved to be persistent, scoring three more runs for a 5-0 lead through three innings. Matthew Gruber, meanwhile, was lights-out, allowing just two hits in a complete game performance. He struck out nine Willmar batters and only walked two.
MINNEAPOLIS - The saying that baseball is a game of inches was on full display Thursday in Willmar's Class AAA quarterfinal against Alexandria.
David Ditmarson was losing a lot of weight. As a retired letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, he was always an active person who enjoyed the outdoors. That's what made his 60-pound weight loss all the more alarming. As a precaution, David went to a doctor to check things out in November. His blood tests were normal and he felt fine aside from the weight loss. Doctors scanned his pancreas, though, and found a mass. It was cancer.
WILLMAR - The Willmar Stingers cruised to a four-run lead after eight innings and survived a sloppy ninth to squeeze by Eau Claire 5-4 on Tuesday at Bill Taunton Stadium. The Stingers improved to 8-7. Willmar and the Express play the second game of a two-game set at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Taunton. Willmar starter Trevor Divinski battled Eau Claire's Justin Slaten through 3-1/2 innings until the Stingers' Caleb Ricca hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
Shortly before the Section 6AAA final between Willmar and top-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret's, Cardinals head coach Tom DeBoer chatted with first baseman Jack Baumgart's dad, Dave. "He said, 'This is starting to feel a lot like District 5,' and I told him I agreed," DeBoer said following Willmar's win that clinched a spot in the Class AAA state tournament. "This is a special group that has been through a lot and knows what it takes to win."
Every player that dons a Willmar Stinger jersey has the dream of getting a call from a major league team about being drafted. Last week, eight present and former Stingers took that call. Kole Cottam was the first former Stinger off the board in the 2018 MLB Draft, going to the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round. Cottam played for the Stingers in 2016 following his freshman year at the University of Kentucky and led the Wildcats in 2018 with a .352 batting average and 19 home runs.
LA CROSSE - The Willmar Stingers struggled to hold a lead and the La Crosse Loggers staved off a sweep attempt with a 9-4 win Monday night. The Loggers jumped out to a 2-0 lead through two innings but the Stingers bounced back with a three-spot in the fourth inning, only to leak two runs and trail 4-3 after four innings. La Crosse never looked back, tacking on runs in the fifth and the sixth innings and adding three more in the bottom of the eighth.
ST. PAUL — The spring track and field season came to a close on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Klas Field at Hamline University. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd's Keiser Freetly posted the best finish of area athletes with a second place finish in the 800 meter run for the second year in a row, crossing the finish line at 1:57.48. Melrose's Jesse Middendorf passed Freetly in the final stretch and posted a winning time of 1:56.62.
MANKATO - Sleepy Eye cut BOLD's dream season short with a 3-2 victory in the Section 2A final Thursday night at Franklin Rogers Park. BOLD ends the season at 19-2 with both losses coming to Sleepy Eye, the tournament's No. 7 seed, in the playoffs. The Indians, meanwhile, will head to the Class A state tournament which kicks off Thursday at the Chaska Athletic Park. Sleepy Eye sent senior right-hander Avery Stevens to the bump to battle with BOLD ace and fellow senior James Woelfel for an old-fashioned pitchers duel that lived up to the hype.
WACONIA - Willmar third baseman Caleb Ditmarson doesn't remember throwing the ball across the diamond to end Wednesday's game, but it will be a moment—and a night—that will never be forgotten. The Willmar Cardinals are bound for the state tournament for the first time since 1987 after topping Benilde-St. Margaret's 3-2 in the Section 6AAA championship Wednesday evening at Lions Field. The Cards open the Class AAA state tournament on June 14 at Siebert Field on the University of Minnesota campus.