LITCHFIELD—Two fast starts led Willmar VFW I to wins in a pair of six-inning games against Litchfield on Friday. Drey Dirksen and Zak Madsen each had two hits, with Dirksen hitting a home run, as Willmar won the opener 5-2. Pitcher Brandon Elseth tossed a complete game, scattering five hits to go along with eight strikeouts. Willmar jumped out to a 7-1 lead and withstood a late Litch rally in for a 7-6 win in Game Two. Jon Broman had two RBIs and six different players scored runs as Willmar put up six runs in the second inning.
ATWATER—Tri-Town's legion team used a strong pitching performance from Payton Kinzler to beat Eden Valley-Watkins 3-1 and advance to the next round of the winner's bracket of the Division II District 7 East Sub-District playoffs. Tri-Town opened the scoring in the first and piled on a couple more in the third. Kinzler helped his own cause, going 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs in the game. On the mound, Kinzler went the distance, allowing six hits and a run in the process. He also struck out five.
MADISON—Cottonwood entered Wednesday's game against Madison as the underdog but left as a clear winner. Bayley Enstad fired a five-hitter as No. 5-seed Cottonwood upended top-seed Madison 11-0 in the Division II District 7 Southwest Sub-District on Wednesday. The middle innings were the key to Cottonwood's win. The team scored eight of the runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Tristen Groff was the team's offensive leader, going 3-for-5 while driving in four runs.
WILLMAR—The Willmar Soccer Association 16-U boys soccer team defeated Eden Prairie 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday in Chaska to secure the No. 1 West seed in the upcoming, six-team Competition Level 2 state tournament. Willmar is 10-0-2 and Eden Prairie's goal was the first the team has surrendered this season. On Tuesday, Willmar's Sergio Moreno scored all three goals in a 3-0 win over Chanhassen/Chaska to ensure a spot in the state tournament. The Eden Prairie game determined seeding.
EDEN VALLEY—A battle of the No. 4 and 5 seeds proved to be as close as advertised on Tuesday with the Eden Valley-Watkins Legion team edging out Litchfield 3-2 to open the Division II District 7 East Sub-District playoffs. EVW scored all of its runs in the second inning and Litchfield did all of its scoring in the fifth. The teams were evenly matched in terms of hitting, too, as the teams each had four hits.
ST. CLOUD—The St. Cloud Rox pieced together runs in six of eight innings and held off a late Willmar rally to down the Stingers 8-5 in a Northwoods League game on Tuesday at Dick Putz Field. The Rox sent Willmar to its second-straight loss after the Stingers opened the NWL second half with four wins in five games. Willmar returns home to play the Rox at 7:05 p.m. today at Bill Taunton Stadium. The Rox will start Dan Metzdorf against the Stingers' Jayce Vancena.
MONTEVIDEO—Six errors undermined the higher-seeded Montevideo Legion team in a 8-4 loss to Cottonwood in the opening round of the Division II, District 7 Southwest Sub-District tournament on Monday. No. 5-seed Cottonwood took an early 5-1 lead, then tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh inning when Montevideo climbed within a run. Montevideo's Bryce Maurice had three hits and drove in a run, Connor Kontz and two hits and an RBI and Blaine Sedarstrom singled and drove in a run.
ALBANY—The Willmar Legion baseball team split two games Saturday at the Albany/Avon Wood Bat Tournament on Saturday. Post 167 defeated Dassel-Cokato 13-4 after losing to the St. Cloud Chutes 10-1. Willmar plays Marshall at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Swansson Orange, then plays host to the eight-team sub-state tournament beginning July 20 at Swansson and Bill Taunton Stadium. Against Dassel-Cokato, Willmar's Noah Streed hit a bases-loaded triple and Tyler Johnson had three hits. Grant Bangen also drove in two runs.
ROCHESTER — The Willmar Stingers' offense has gone through a power surge to start the month of July and it carried the Stingers to a 10-6 win over the Rochester Honkers on Sunday at Mayo Field. Stingers Justin Toerner and Danny Pardo both hit their third home runs of the year, and the two combined for seven runs batted in to help Willmar (22-19 overall, 4-1 in second half) win for the seventh time in the last eight games.
PAYNESVILLE—Fantastic pitching performances propelled the Willmar VFW I team to the championship of the Starbuck Tournament over the weekend. Three Willmar pitchers worked complete games, allowing just one run and eight hits in a 3-1 over Hutchinson, a 1-0 win over Paynesville and a 9-0 victory over Albany in the championship game played at Paynesville's new park while the Starbuck field at Minnewaska High School undergoes renovations.