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NORTHWOODS LEAGUE: Willmar outlasts Lunker rallies

WILLMAR — The Brainerd Lunkers kept rallying after falling behind early, but the Willmar Stingers responded each time with runs of their own and never trailed, eventually posting a 12-5 win in North Division action Thursday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The Lunkers had won four of their last five games, but hadn’t played since Monday after rain forced the postponement of games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Stingers got to Lunker starter John McLeod early, scoring twice in the second and three more runs in the third to take a 5-1 lead.

Brainerd bounced back quickly scoring three in the fourth. Tommy Reyes singled and Andrew Letourneau was hit by a pitch. Hunter Adrian singled to score Reyes. Two pitches later, Wade Wass doubled, scoring Letourneau and Adrian pulling the Lunkers to within 5-4.

Willmar picked up two more runs in the fifth before Brainerd responded with one in the sixth. Letourneau led off with a single, advanced on another single by Adrian and eventually scored for the second time keeping Brainerd close at 7-5.

Once again the Stingers responded, this time in the eighth with five runs on three singles, three walks, four stolen bases and a Lunker error.

Offensively, the Lunkers were led by Wass, 2-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.  Also turning in multiple hit performances were Adrian and Tommy Reyes, both going 2-4 with a run scored.

Willmar was led by Blake Shepherd’s 2-4 with a three runs and a pair of RBIs.

The Lunkers, a game and a half back of North-Division leader Mankato, missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on the MoonDogs as Mankato lost to Alexandria 4-2 and were trailing the Beetles 11-0 in the fifth inning of a doubleheader at press time Thursday evening.

Brainerd 001 301 000 — 5 9 3

Willmar 023 020 050 — 12 10 0

Willmar: Tanner Banks, Dan Russell (5), Jack Shannon (8) and Jarid Scarafiotti

Brainerd: John McLeod, James Farris (4), Shea Lukes (8) and Wade Wass

W: Russell. L: McLeod. Sv: Shannon

RBIs: Brd-Brault 2, Wass 2, Matt Hillsinger 1, Wil-Rob Elliott 2, Jason Leblebijan, Sean Dwyer, Jake Stinnett 2, Shepherd 2, Jarid Scarafiotti 3, 

LOB: W 9, Brd 8

Time: 2:30

Record: Brainerd 12-6.

Next: Brainerd at Willmar 7:05 p.m. Friday.