MANKATO - The Willmar Stingers' bullpen matched Mankato's out for out over the final five innings and the Stingers came away with a 9-5 victory on Monday at Franklin Rogers Park.
Big innings helped the Stingers and MoonDogs plate a bunch of runs before the pitchers knuckled down.
The Stingers stayed within a game of North Division-leading Duluth, which will be in Willmar on Wednesday for a doubleheader. Game times are 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. All 10 North Division teams play doubleheaders that day.
Willmar's six-run fourth gave the Stingers a 9-0 lead, but the MoonDogs countered with five in the bottom of the inning. For all intents and purposes, that was it.
Bryant Claunch got the win, despite allowing five earned runs on seven hits in two innings in relief of starter Jonathan McKinney.
Four Stingers relievers allowed just three hits over four shutout innings. Two MoonDogs reached in the ninth but reliever Nick Mears struck out the final two batters to end the game.
Willmar's Eli Wilson had two hits and drove in three runs and Nic Hernandez had three hits and scored twice. John Trousdale drove in two runs and Tyler Reichenborn, Caleb Ricca, Matt Rudick and Jaxon Hallmark all had RBIs.
The Stingers and MoonDogs play the second game of a two-game set at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday in Mankato.
Willmar 102 600 000-9 10 1
Mankato 000 500 000-5 12 2
Hitting - Willmar: Matt Rudick 0-2 rbi r-2, Joey Ortiz 0-4 r, Nic Hernandez 3-6 r-2, Eli Wilson 2-5 rbi-3 r, John Trousdale 1-2 rbi-2 r, Tyler Reichenborn 2-4 rbi r, Caleb Ricca 2-4 rbi r, Jaxon Hallmark 0-4 rbi ... Mankato: Kyle MacDonald 3-5 rbi, CJ Huntley 2-4 rbi r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Jonathan McKinney 3.2-8-5-5-1-1, Bryant Claunch 1.1-1-0-0-1-0, Braxton Johns 1-0-0-0-1-1, Jayson Newman 1-1-0-0-0-2, Dylan Oliver 0.2-1-0-0-1-1, Nick Mears 1.1-1-0-0-0-3 ... Mankato: Nathan Hickey 3.2-10-9-9-4-1, Ryan Duffy 2.1-0-0-0-4-4, Connor Campbell 2-0-0-0-1-1, Jordan Jackson 1-0-0-0-1-2
Bird Island 8, NL-Sunburg 2
Bird Island slowly but surely ran off from Norway Lake-Sunburg in the Region 4C playoffs.
The Bullfrogs scored in six of the eight innings they came to bat. Dylan Gass and Reed Stadther both had four hits and drove in two runs, and Ben Steffel, Wyatt Peppel and Jack Peppel all had two hits and scored two runs.
Logan Sandgren allowed just an unearned run on two hits over six innings to get the win.
NL-Sunburg 000 010 001-2 4 2
Bird island 012 120 11x-8 16 4
Hitting - Norway Lake-Sunburg: James Cortez 0-3 rbi, Brandin Dahl 1-1, Ryan Torkeslon 1-4, Brandon Rasmusson 0-4 r, Josh Peterson 2-4 r ... Bird Island: Trent Athmann 1-5 2b r, Ben Steffel 2-4 2b rbi r-2, Dylan Gass 4-5 2b rbi-2, Shawn Dollerschell 0-5 rbi, Wyatt Peppel 2-4 r-2, Jack Peppel 2-5 rbi r-2, James Woelfel 1-3 2b rbi, Reed Stadther 4-4 rbi-2 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Norway Lake-Sunburg: Justin Johnson (L) 8-16-8-6-2-1 ... Bird Island: Logan Sandgren (W) 6-2-1-0-2-3, Brad Gass 2-2-0-0-1-1, Eric Gass 1-0-1-0-0-0
NL-Spicer 3, Atwater 1
Patrick Courtney and Adam Nibaur were not unhittable but Atwater still managed just a run in New London-Spicer's Region 4C win.
Atwater had nine hits off the NLS pitchers but Courtney and Nibaur combined to strike out 14.
Atwater's Kobe Holtz had three hits, including a solo home run in the seventh for the Chuckers' lone run.
Atwater 000 000 100-1 9 2
NL-Spicer 100 100 01x-3 4 1
Hitting - Atwater: Josh Cunningham 3-4, Jeff Peterson 1-5, Justin Schroeder 1-4, Kobe Holtz 3-4 hr rbi r, Nate Ewert 1-4 ... New London-Spicer: Jake Rambow 0-3 rbi r, Mike Danielson 1-4, Scott Rambow 1-3, Wyatt White 0-3 r, Austin Rambow 1-3, Ben Kulset 1-3, Josh Soine 0-0 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Atwater: Jordan Olson (L) 1.2-2-1-1-1-0, Holtz 6.1-2-2-2-1-7-15 ... New London-Spicer: Patrick Courtney (W) 6.2-8-1-1-2-11, Adam Nibaur (Sv) 2.1-1-0-0-0-3
with La Crescent
The New London-Spicer Legion team opens the Minnesota Division II State Tournament against LaCrescent at 1 p.m. Friday in Pelican Rapids.
If NLS wins, they play the winner of the Stephen/Argyle and Springfield opener at 5 p.m. Saturday.
If NLS loses its opener, they play the loser of that game in the consolation semifinals at 9 a.m. Saturday.
In Friday's other first-round games, Sauk Centre plays Wadena at 4 p.m., and LeSueur/Henderson plays the host team, Pelican Rapids, at 7 p.m.
The tournament runs Friday through Sunday. The consolation championship is 2 p.m. Saturday, the third-place game is 11:30 a.m. Sunday and the title game is 2 p.m. Sunday.
Brace wins Classic
Area athletes competed in the Cardinal Classic tennis tournament this weekend at the Willmar High School courts with champions in six different divisions.
Jesse Brace topped all competitors to win the Men's Open Singles championship and Annie Sundry took home the Women's Open Singles championship. Brace won three matches in the 13-man tournament. He won his opening match against Hunter Fischer and moved on to defeat Hunter's brother, Peyton, 6-4, 6-1. Brace topped Kyle Jordre in the finals 6-3, 6-4.
Sundry defeated Ashley Pitzen in her first match 6-3, 6-1 and topped Chloe Hansen 6-4, 6-3 for the championship.
Brent Gloege joined New London-Spicer tennis coach Chad Schmiesing to win the packed Men's Open Doubles tournament, upsetting last year's winners, Kyle and Tony Rice, in a dramatic 1-6, 6-3, 10-6 victory. Schmiesing and Gloege also topped the double spairs of Jeraco Parsa/Colton Husby, Hunter Fischer/Nate Jordre and Neil Rademacher/Paul Bates.
Schmiesing came close to another title but fell just short in the Mixed Open Doubles tournament with Isabelle Schmiesing. Will Fischer and Lydia Morrell topped the Schmiesings 6-1, 6-4 in the final.
Isabelle had her fair share of glory, too, winning the Women's Open Doubles tournament with Erin Loterbauer, topping Lydia and Alyssa Morrell 6-4, 6-2.
Isaac Maddock won the Men's A Singles tournament, defeating Marquis Christenson 6-2, 6-0 in the final.