WILLMAR — The Willmar Stingers’ bats had the ball flying in the first game back from the All-Star break.
Hosting the Minnesota Mud Puppies in front of 818 fans Thursday at Bill Taunton Stadium, Willmar opened the game with a five-run first inning. Eventually, the home team came away with a 12-2 Northwoods League victory.
The five-run scoring spree came via RBI singles by Grant Kerry, Jakob Newton, Drey Dirksen and a two-run base hit from Jorge Lucero.
Newton, Dirksen and William Hamiter each had three hits for the Stingers. Newton, a junior from Florida Institute of Technology, went 3-for-6 with three runs and two RBIs. Dirksen, a Willmar High School grad and Augustana sophomore, was 3-for-5 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored. Hamiter, a redshirt freshman from Alabama, was 3-for-3 with three runs and two RBIs while also being beaned by pitches three times.
Lucero, Josh Fitzgerald and Carter Howell each finished with two hits for Willmar.
On the mound, Sasha Jabusch earned his second win of the year after striking out seven over seven innings. A senior from Northwest Nazarene (Idaho), Jabusch is 2-3 for the Stingers with a 4.45 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 32-1/3 innings.
Ben Palmer, a redshirt freshman from Iowa Western Community College by way of Fridley, was the Mud Puppies’ top hitter, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Reed Butz, a senior from Valley City State (North Dakota), took the loss after pitching the first inning.
The two teams will face off again at 7:05 p.m. Friday back at Bill Taunton Stadium.
Minnesota 000 000 200-2 6 2
Willmar 522 011 10x-0 17 2
Hitting - Minnesota: Henry George 1-4 2b, William Sturek 1-4, Ben Palmer 2-4 2b r, Jakob Kouneski 1-4 r rbi, Max Gamm 1-3 2b rbi … Willmar: Josh Fitzgerald 2-4 2b r-2 bb-2, Carter Howell 2-5 r hbp, William Hamiter 3-3 r-3 rbi-2 hbp-3 sb, Grant Kerry 1-3 r rbi-2 bb-3, Jakob Newton 3-6 r-3 rbi-2, Drey Dirksen 3-5 2b r rbi-3, Brady Counsell 1-5 2b rbi, Jorge Lucero 2-4 r rbi-2 bb sb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Minnesota: Reed Butz (L, 0-3) 1-5-5-4-1-2, Brain Vanyo 3-5-4-4-3-3, Alec Schmitz 3-7-3-3-1-1, Sam Hanson 1-0-0-0-2-0 … Willmar: Sasha Jabusch (W, 2-3) 7-5-2-2-1-7, Dylan Matela 1-0-0-0-0-0, Brady Hill 1-1-0-0-0-1