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.

Willmar's Kyle Mandzardo rounds third base to score during Thursday's Northwoods League game against Mankato from Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. 

Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune
Willmar's Kyle Mandzardo rounds third base to score during Thursday's Northwoods League game against Mankato from Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

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.

Willmar 5,

Mankato 4

Mankato 010 021 000-4 10 2
Willmar 210 100 000-5 12 1
Hitting - Mankato: Zach Kokoska 2-4 bb r, Zach Gilles 1-4 bb, Evan Berkey 1-4, Dylan Phillips 2-5 rbi r, Jake Thompson 1-3 bb-2 r-2, Danny Borgstrom 0-3 bb rbi, Michael Curialle 2-4 rbi, Drew Stahl 1-4 rbi … Willmar: Griffin Cheney 2-4 2b bb r sb, Kyle Manzardo 1-2 hbp-2 rbi r, Tyler Wilber 0-3 rbi sf, Brennan McKenzie 2-4 rbi r, Cesar Lopez 3-4 2b rbi, Drey Dirks 1-3, Ryan Johnson 0-0 sac, Grant Schoen 1-3, Brooks Lee 1-1 rbi
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Mankato: Jared Milch 6-9-4-4-1-3, Andre Granillo (L) 2-3-1-1-0-3 … Willmar: Jack Zigan 4.2-6-3-3-5-0, Jayson Newman 1.1-3-1-1-0-1, Gavin Gorrell 1-1-0-0-0-1, Landon Green (W) 1-0-0-0-0-0, Jonathan Brand (S) 1-0-0-0-0-1