Northwoods League: Safford seals Stingers win

LSU sophomore's walk-off single secures Willmar's 4-3 win over the St. Cloud Rox

Baseball roundup
Willmar Stingers third baseman Will Safford squats down to field a chopper during a Northwoods League game against the St. Cloud Rox on Friday, June 24, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — Despite the St. Cloud Rox taking an early 3-1 lead in the third inning, the Willmar Stingers never quit in pursuit to a 4-3 comeback victory.

The come-from-behind victory before 700 fans at Bill Taunton Stadium was capped off by a walk-off single by Will Safford.

Safford, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, earned his fifth hit and second RBI this season after the Rox intentionally walked Drey Dirksen the previous at-bat.

With runners on first and second base, Safford roped a single up the middle to center field before Zac Corbin scored the game-winning run.

062522.S.WCT.Willmar Stingers Zac Corbin.JPG
Willmar Stingers second baseman Zac Corbin bobbles the ball while fielding during a Northwoods League game against the St. Cloud Rox on Friday, June 24, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The comeback win came large as the Stingers (15-11) took down the Great Plains West division-leading Rox (18-5) to sweep the two-game series.


With the Stingers trailing by one run in the seventh inning, Joey Walls — a junior at the University of Nevada — joined in with a solo home run, hitting his third home of the season to knot the ball game at 3-3.

Facing a 3-1 deficit in the fifth inning, Willmar’s very own Dirksen hit his second home run, a solo shot, of the two-game series, and fifth this season, to cut into St. Cloud’s lead at 3-2.

The Rox’s third and final run of the game came in the third inning before the Stingers saw their pitchers throw six scoreless innings.

062522.S.WCT.St Cloud Rox Prewit.JPG
The St. Cloud Rox's Brady Prewit, 19, high-fives teammate Albert Choi after hitting a two-run home run in the second inning of a Northwoods League game against the Willmar Stingers on Friday, June 24, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The Stingers cut into the Rox’s early 2-0 lead with a quick response. A Dalton Pearson RBI single brought home Nick Terrell.

St. Cloud’s Brady Prewit started the home run frenzy in the second inning. He hit a two-run home run to earn the Rox their first two runs of the game, giving them an opening 2-0 lead.

After allowing three runs through three innings, Jack Habeck threw three scoreless innings before Logan Samuels and John Bezdicek closed the game out with three more. Bezdieck was credited with the win, improving to 1-1.

The Stingers have Saturday and Sunday off. They return to action at 6:35 p.m. Monday at the Eau Claire Express.

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Willmar Stingers catcher Jake Entrekin gets his mitt on the ball during a Northwoods League game against the St. Cloud Rox on Friday, June 24, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune


Willmar 4, St. Cloud 3

St. Cloud    021   000   000-3   6   0
Willmar       010   010   101-4   8   1
Hitting - St. Cloud: John Nett 1-3 r, Josh Cowden 3-4 2b, Trevor Austin 1-4, Brice Matthews 0-3 r, Brady Prewit 1-2 r hr rbi-2 … Willmar: Josh Fitzgerald 1-4, Joey Walls 1-5 r hr rbi, Zac Corbin 1-4 r 2b, Drey Dirksen 1-3 r hr rbi, Will Safford 2-4 rbi, Nick Terrell 0-2 r, Jake Entrekin 1-2 2b, Dalton Pearson 1-3 rbi
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - St. Cloud: Janzen Keisel 4-3-1-1-5-6, Joseph Brandon 3-3-2-2-0-5, Zane Badmaev (L, 0-1) 1.1-2-1-1-2-0 … Willmar: Jack Habeck 6-4-3-3-2-4, Logan Samuels 1-0-0-0-0-1, John Bezdicek (W, 1-1) 2-0-0-0-1-5

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Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in June 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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