WILLMAR — Recording a base hit in every game he’s appeared in this summer, Brooks Lee absolutely can be trusted at the plate.
Entering Thursday’s contest against Mankato as a pinch hitter, Lee delivered a one-out single to break a tie in the bottom of the eighth inning and help Willmar capture a 5-4 victory from Bill Taunton Stadium.
The Stingers went back into a tie for first place in the Minnesota-Iowa pod with idle Waterloo. Each team holds a 16-8 record.
Willmar hits the road to face St. Cloud at 7:05 p.m. Friday from Joe Faber Field. The Bucks return to the field with a home game against the MoonDogs.
Leading off the eighth, Deylan Pigford reached with a single to center field and later advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Ryan Johnson. Then, on the first offering from Mankato reliever Andre Granillo, Lee smacked a single into left to plate Pigford.
Jonathan Brand collected his first save of the season after closing a 1-2-3 ninth by getting Jake Thompson to strike out swinging.
Landon Green, one of the four Stingers’ relievers used Thursday, earned the victory after tossing eight pitches during a 1-2-3 eighth.
Three players had multi-hit performances for the home team.
Cesar Lopez was 3-for-4 with a RBI double to lead Willmar. Griffin Cheney was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored. Brennan McKenzie also was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Hit by a pitch on two occasions, Kyle Manzado reached safely three times.
Zach Kokoska, Dylan Phillips and Michael Curialle each had two hits for the MoonDogs.