The St. Cloud Rox continue to make history in 2021. Sunday’s effort may have been the most thrilling yet.
Jack Winkler rifled a single to left field with one out in the 10th inning to help the Rox capture their 12th consecutive win, a franchise record. The triumph before 1,377 at Joe Faber Field improved St. Cloud’s record to 20-6. It was also the team’s sixth straight series sweep. The Rox have now won 18 of their last 20 contests since beginning the campaign 2-4. Willmar fell to 12-16 with the loss.
With Mankato (18-8) winning yet again to keep pace, the Rox still hold a two-game advantage over the MoonDogs in the Great Plains West with six games remaining in the first-half schedule. Mankato comes to central Minnesota for a big two-game series starting Wednesday. On a muggy Sunday afternoon in the Granite City, Hunter Dollander tossed five solid innings allowing only one earned run. The recent graduate of Georgia Gwinnett College — where he went 12-1 and led the school to the NAIA championship while earning MVP of the World Series — now has a 1.38 ERA in three Northwoods League starts. Lefty Nate Peterson struck out seven in three relief innings, but allowed back-to-back doubles in the eighth to give Willmar a 2-1 lead. For the Stingers, Ryan Watson, who allowed only 3 runs in 28 innings coming in, danced around eight hits over five innings. Chandler Freeman issued a bases loaded walk to St. Cloud’s Justin Vanderbrake to tie the game in the eighth. Kevin Davis pitched two perfect innings for the Rox, leaving his ghost runner stranded at third in the decisive 10th inning. Willmar closer Jacob Webb, consistently hitting 96 MPH, allowed the game-winning knock to Winkler during his third inning of work. Going back to the shortened 2020 season, St. Cloud is a stunning 30-6 at home. The squad now heads to Eau Claire (10-18) for the first time since 2018.
St. Cloud's Hunter Dollander turned in another solid start