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BASEBALL: Lunkers get by Stingers in extra innings

The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers put a little bright spot into what has been a fairly dreary second half of the season with a 7-6 win over the Willmar Stingers before 564 fans at Mills Field on Tuesday night.

Vince Bruno’S base hit over second baseman Garrett Borba scored Wade Wass with the winning run, and lifted the Lunkers to just their second victory in their last six games.

Tyler Sparger pitched the ninth and 10th inning to get the win for Brainerd, while Kurt Spomer took the loss for the Stingers. The Lunkers moved their record to 8-13 in the second half.

Brainerd fell behind 1-0 after the first inning, but took a 4-2 lead into the firth=. The Stingers came back to tie the game at 4, before the Lunkers added two more runs in the sixth inning to take a 6-4 lead. The Stingers then tied the game in the top of the seventh inning and it stayed that way until the 10th inning.

Casey Roche and Tommy Reyes were huge  in the Lunkers’ offense with seven hits between the two of them. Roche had four hits in five trips to the plate, while Reyes had three hits and an intentional walk,

“It’s good to see our offense going,” said Roche. “We have been in a lot of one -un games and our pitching has been there. We haven’t picked up the slack and it was good to see that tonight.”

Reyes has struggled at the plate for Brainerd this season. The second year Lunker joined the team late in the first half, and hasn’t been able to find consistency on offense.

“I have had a slow start to the season,” Reyes said. “It’s a long season and you can turn it around any day.”

After doubling in the third inning, Reyes came to the plate with two outs and Matt Hillsinger on first base. Reyes deliverd with a blast deep to left field to put the Lunkers ahead 4-2. Reyes also had a hit in the sixth inning,

“It’s my first home run in my college career,”  said Reyes. “It was a nice feeling. I feel like our park plays a huge advantage because in batting practice we’re not looking to hit homeruns. It teaches us to hit the ball up the middle and stay within yourself and it pays off.”

Brainerd put two more runs on the board in the sixth inning. Ryan Abrahamson started the inning with a base hit and moved to second base on a ground out by Wass. Matt Hillsinger then delivered with a run scoring double, Kye Winter then scored Hillsinger with a sacrifice fly to the outfield for a 6-4 Brainerd lead.

The Stingers tied the game in the seventh inning and the two teams traded  zeros for the next two innings.

After Spomer set Willmar down 1-2-3 in the 10th inning, the Lunkers came up with a chance to get a walk-off win. Wass singled to start the inning and was sacrified to second base by Hillsinger. Reyes was intentionally walked and Winter was was also walked after getting ahead in the count 3-0.

Bruno then came to the plate and set off a Lunkers celebration with a base hit into right field.

Willmar    101 020 200 0 — 6 10 1

Brainerd   011 202 000 1 — 7 14 0

Willmar: Scott Lieser, Michael Shreves (6), Jacki Shannon (7), Kurt Spomer (9), and Jarid Scarafiotti

Brainerd: Aaron Griffin, Chase Webb (6), Tyler Sparger (9), and Wade Wass

W: Sparger. L: Spomer. 

2B: Casey Roche (B) 2, Tommy Reyes (B)

HR: Reyes (B) 

SB: Mitch Rowan (W), Roche (B)

SF: Kye Winter (B), 

RBIs: Jason Leblebijian (W), Eduardo Gonzalez (W), Mitch Delfino (W) 3, Kye Winter (B), Vince Bruno (B), Wade Wass (B), Matt Hillsinger (B), Reyes (B), 2

DP: W 1, Brd 1

LOB: W 8, Brd 12 

Time: 2:58