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.

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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.

Willmar 12,

Minnesota 2

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