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Northwoods League: Stingers enjoy a big win

Willmar beats Waterloo 5-1 to knock the Bucks out of first place in the standings

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Willmar starting pitcher John Bezdicek fires to the plate during Monday's Northwoods League game against Waterloo from Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — If the Willmar Stingers are going to make a run at the Minnesota-Iowa pod title, it has to start now.

After Sunday, the team began play three-and-a-half games behind the division-leading Waterloo Bucks.

There’s no better way to make up ground on the Bucks than to beat them head-to-head, and on Monday, Willmar did just that with a 5-2 victory in front of a large crowd at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The Stingers remain in third place in the Minnesota-Iowa Pod as St. Cloud took over first following a 9-3 victory over Mankato. Willmar trails the Rox by three games.

John Bezdicek was brilliant on the mound, helping snap his team’s five-game losing streak.

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Willmar manager Al Leyva discusses a call with the first base empire during Monday's Northwoods League game against Waterloo from Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

The left-hander from Southwest Minnesota State held Waterloo without a baserunner through the first five innings. Striking out 12 over 7-1/3 innings of work, Bezdicek fanned the side in the third and fifth and at one point sat down five consecutive batters by way of the K.

His only mistake all evening was a 3-2 offering that Brett McCleary drove over the center field fence for a home run. Otherwise, Bezdicek was untouchable, allowing one hit and two walks in 109 pitches.

Willmar jumped ahead with a pair of runs in the fourth off reliever Alex Huertas. With runners on second and third, Harrison Schnurbusch put the home team on the board with an RBI groundout to score Tyler Wilber. Next, Brennan McKenzie made it 2-0 when he singled in Jayson Newman.

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Willmar catcher Drey Dirksen chats with first base coach Matt Caselli after reaching with a single during Monday's Northwoods League game against Waterloo from Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

Newman, who went 2-for-3, had an RBI groundout in the fifth. Up 3-1 in the seventh, Wilber delivered a two-run single. He finished 3-for-3 with a double.

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Willmar will look to do more damage against Waterloo when the teams play at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Willmar 5,
Waterloo 1

Waterloo 000 001 000-1 2 0
Willmar 000 210 200-5 10 0
Hitting - Waterloo: Ryan Guardino 1-4, Brett McCleary 1-3 r hr rbi … Willmar: Jaxon Hallmark 0-4 r, Brooks Lee 2-4 r-2, Tyler Wilber 3-3 r 2b rbi-2 bb, Jayson Newman 2-3 r rbi hbp, Hunter Ranweiler 0-3 hbp, Harrison Schnurbusch 0-3 rbi bb, Brennan McKenzie 1-4 rbi, Drey Dirksen 1-4, Deylan Pigford 1-3 hbp
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Waterloo: Jack Radford 2-2-0-0-1-1, Alec Huertas (L, 2-1) 5-8-5-5-1-3, Will Christophersen 1-0-0-0-0-0… Willmar: John Bezdicek (W, 3-1) 7.1-1-1-2-12, Wyatt Thompson 1.2-1-0-0-0-5

081120.S.WCT.Harrison Schnurbusch Stingers.JPG
Willmar third baseman Harrison Schnurbusch grounds out to the second baseman to drive in the first run of Monday's Northwoods League game against Waterloo from Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

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