DULUTH—The Willmar Stingers fought back for a tough win in a marathon game Tuesday night in Rochester but the aftereffects kicked in Wednesday as the Stingers dropped a pair to the Duluth Huskies. Duluth used a four-run fifth to take a 7-4 win in game one Wednesday and ran away with things in the second leg, topping Willmar 11-2.
WILLMAR - Willmar VFW Post 1639 held off a strong comeback effort from Benson Monday night at Bill Taunton Stadium to earn a 6-4 victory. Post 1639 put the game's first runs on the board following a misplayed bunt that allowed Chase Dirksen and Andrew Baumgart to score and take an early 2-0 lead. Hunter Magnuson reached third base after his bunt and scored on an Austin Bengtson sacrifice fly on the next play. Benson pulled one back when shortstop Pat Minchow laced a double over the left fielder's head, driving in Toby Gonnerman to cut the lead to 3-1.
STARBUCK - Raymond overcame a one-run deficit with two in the fourth inning, broke the game wide open with six more in the fifth and defeated Starbuck 11-3 on Wednesday night. Raymond's John Sawatzky had two hits, including a double, and drove in three runs, and Jordan Smith had a pair of hits, he also doubled and drove in two runs. Eric Hulterstrum doubled twice, drove in a run and scored twice. Raymond's Jose Rosario worked five innings to get the win. Starbuck's Matt Gruber had two hits and scored a run and Austin Versteeg had a hit and an RBI.
BISMARCK - The Willmar Stingers scratched three runs across in the fifth inning to take the lead and put one back in the win column with a 4-2 win against Bismarck Tuesday night. Caleb Ricca tied things up with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning but that quickly became a 2-1 lead after a fielding error by Bismarck right fielder Dylan Rock allowed Jaxon Hallmark to score.
WILLMAR - Willmar VFW Post 1639 took a pair of games from Madison on Monday at Swansson Orange. Willmar took the second game 8-4 in a game halted after four innings. Post 1639 saw Madison tie the first game in the top of the seventh but Willmar's Jett Solanek hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the inning for a 5-4 win. In Game 2, Willmar's Ashton Gregory was 2-for-3 with a double and three runs batted in and Carter Ochsendorf had a hit and two RBIs. Madison's Mason Clark had two hits and scored two runs.
WILLMAR - Willmar Legion Post 167 stumbled out of the starting gates to the summer season as Glenwood/Lowry used an early start to win 6-0 Monday evening. Glenwood/Lowry opened up the game with two runs in the first inning against Willmar starter Caleb Ditmarson and proved to be persistent, scoring three more runs for a 5-0 lead through three innings. Matthew Gruber, meanwhile, was lights-out, allowing just two hits in a complete game performance. He struck out nine Willmar batters and only walked two.
MINNEAPOLIS - The saying that baseball is a game of inches was on full display Thursday in Willmar's Class AAA quarterfinal against Alexandria.
David Ditmarson was losing a lot of weight. As a retired letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, he was always an active person who enjoyed the outdoors. That's what made his 60-pound weight loss all the more alarming. As a precaution, David went to a doctor to check things out in November. His blood tests were normal and he felt fine aside from the weight loss. Doctors scanned his pancreas, though, and found a mass. It was cancer.
WILLMAR - The Willmar Stingers cruised to a four-run lead after eight innings and survived a sloppy ninth to squeeze by Eau Claire 5-4 on Tuesday at Bill Taunton Stadium. The Stingers improved to 8-7. Willmar and the Express play the second game of a two-game set at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Taunton. Willmar starter Trevor Divinski battled Eau Claire's Justin Slaten through 3-1/2 innings until the Stingers' Caleb Ricca hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
Shortly before the Section 6AAA final between Willmar and top-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret's, Cardinals head coach Tom DeBoer chatted with first baseman Jack Baumgart's dad, Dave. "He said, 'This is starting to feel a lot like District 5,' and I told him I agreed," DeBoer said following Willmar's win that clinched a spot in the Class AAA state tournament. "This is a special group that has been through a lot and knows what it takes to win."