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Northwoods League baseball: Stingers take bite out of Huskies

Duluth offense sputters and pitching struggles in second-to-last game of regular season.

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WILLMAR, Minn. — Seth Miller pitched six shutout innings and Kyle Payne powered the offense with a pair of home runs to lead the Willmar Stingers to an 11-1 Northwoods League victory over the Duluth Huskies in the penultimate game of the regular season Friday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Miller, a 5-foot-10 right-hander from Augustana University, allowed four hits, with eight strikeouts and three walks. Payne, a second baseman from Northwest Nazarene University, batting at the bottom of the order, finished with three hits, three runs and four RBIs.

Miller’s Augustana teammate Dray Dirksen added a double and two RBIs for the Stingers (26-7 in second half), the Great Plains West second-half champions.

Duluth first baseman Eddie Satisky, the hero of Friday night’s walk-off home win over La Crosse, had two hits and scored the lone run in the seventh inning for the Huskies (15-18). Duluth pitching allowed just seven hits but walked 10, hit four batters and threw three wild pitches.

The same teams close out the regular season at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Willmar.

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Duluth, the Great Plains East first-half champion, will play second-half champion Eau Claire at 5:35 p.m. Sunday at Wade Stadium in the opening game of their best-of-three NWL playoff series. Games 2 and 3, if necessary, will be in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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