WILLMAR — The Willmar Stingers used big first and second innings to put this one away early Friday night.
Willmar scored five times in the first inning and twice in the second on its way to a 9-1 Northwoods League victory over the Duluth Huskies.
In front of 715 at Bill Taunton Stadium, Josh Fitzgerald and Devin Hackman had strong games at the plate for Willmar. Fitzgerald, a right fielder and lead-off hitter from Kirkwood (Iowa) Community College, went 2-for-6 with a double and a run. He’s batting .309 (17 of 55) in 14 games for the Stingers with three doubles, a triple and four RBI.
Hackman, a catcher from South Dakota State, went 2-for-3 with two walks, a run and three RBI. He’s batting .261 (6 of 23) in eight games with a double and five RBI.
It was a tough night on the mound for the Huskies. Duluth pitchers walked 12 and hit three batters. Three Willmar pitchers walked two and hit no one. Rhys Stevens started and had four solid innings, allowing one run. Sam Malec pitched the next three innings and got the victory to improve to 2-0. George Arias went the final two innings.
The teams continue their series this weekend. Duluth (10-10 second half, 22-32 overall) and Willmar (10-10, 26-30) play at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and at 5:05 p.m. Sunday at Bill Taunton Stadium.
Willmar 9, Duluth 1
Duluth 100 000 000-1 7 3
Willmar 520 000 11x-9 8 1
Hitting - Duluth: Michael Brooks 1-4, Mike Boeve 3-4 r 2b, Peyton Powell 1-4, Ambren Voitik 1-3, Brett Paulsen 0-3 bb, Calyn Halvorson 0-3 bb, Xavier Carter 1-3 … Willmar: Josh Fitzgerald 2-6 r 2b, Carter Howell 1-4 r-2 bb-2, William Hamiter 1-1 r-2 2b rbi bb-3 hbp, Grant Kerry 0-5 r, Jorge Lucero 1-2 r-2 2b rbi-2 bb hbp-2, Derek Hackman 2-3 r rbi-3 bb-2, Brady Counsell 0-3 bb-2, Asa Awbrey 1-3 rbi-2 bb-2 hbp
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Duluth: Oscar Lepe (L, 0-2) 1-4-5-5-2-0, Matthew Craven 3-3-2-2-2-2, Nate Wohlgemuth 2⅔-1-1-1-4-3, Tony Cortez 1 1/3-0-1-1-4-1 … Willmar: Rhys Stevens 4-5-1-1-1-4, Sam Malec (W, 2-0) 3-1-0-0-1-3, George Arias 2-1-0-0-0-2