Northwoods League: Stingers slay Eau Claire Express in Alex

Willmar takes 3 of 4 from Eau Claire, including 5-2 Thursday night at Knute Nelson Memorial Ballpark.

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ALEXANDRIA — Whether as the Stingers or the Alexandria Beetles, Willmar found success against the Eau Claire Express this week.

Making their yearly trip to Knute Nelson Memorial Ballpark, the Stingers suited up as the Alexandria Beetles on Thursday night. And with three runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings, the Stingers prevailed with a 5-2 Northwoods League victory in front of 1,207 fans.

Willmar finished the week 3-1 against Eau Claire.

Tied 2-2 in the seventh, Willmar got the game-winning run on an RBI single by Joey Walls that scored Dalton Pearson. Walls, a junior from Nevada-Las Vegas, went 2-for-4.

In the eighth, the Stingers tacked on a pair of insurance runs. Jakob Christian scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Fitzgerald. Then after reaching third on a wild pitch, Will Safford reached home after a one-out double by Aidan Byrne.


Byrne, a freshman from Minnesota State-Mankato by way of Eagan, hit a pair of doubles, finishing 2-for-4. He’s hitting .283 this summer with 16 RBIs.

Reed Smith started the first 5-2/3 innings, striking out two. Reliever Tucker Novotny got the win after tossing a scoreless 1-1/3 innings. The University of Minnesota freshman by way of Cottage Grove is 2-0 this summer with a 4.67 ERA. Plymouth’s John Bezdicek, a senior from Kennesaw State, collected the win after striking out three over 1-1/3 innings.

The Stingers go on the road Friday to face the Bismarck Larks. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.

Willmar 5, Eau Claire 2

Eau Claire    100   001   000-2   6   2Willmar         010   010   12x-5   10   2
Hitting - Eau Claire: Cadyn Schwabe 1-5, Joe Yorke 1-4 2b r, Reed Latimer 2-3 2b r bb, Jake Sapien 2-4 rbi … Willmar: Brett Bateman 1-5, Joey Walls 2-4 rbi, Drey Dirksen 1-4 rbi, Jakob Christian 1-3 r-2 hbp, Will Safford 1-4 r, Josh Fitzgerald 1-4 2b rbi-2, Aidan Byrne 2-4 2b-2 r rbi, Dalton Pearson 1-4 r sb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Eau Claire: Luke Eldred (L, 1-1) 6.2-8-3-3-0-3, Luke Trahan 1.1-2-2-2-0-2 … Willmar: Reed Smith 5.2-5-2-1-3-2, Matt Wilkinson 0.2-1-0-0-1-1, Tucker Novotny (W, 2-0) 1.1-0-0-0-0-0, John Bezdicek (Sv, 2) 1.1-0-0-0-0-3

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