A half inning after Hunter Wilcher’s run-scoring double was named hit of the game, the right-fielder slammed the team’s first home run, helping the Bismarck Larks beat Willmar 10-6 Wednesday in the Northwoods League
Wilcher replaced Noah Sadler in right field after Sadler was injured and went 2-for-2 with a homer and double and two runs batted in.
“It’s probably one of the hardest things to do in baseball,” Wilcher said. “You’ve got to make the most of your opportunities when your number is called.”
Wilcher’s timely double in the sixth answered the Stingers’ four-run sixth inning. His homer in the home half of the eighth answered another Willmar run.
The homer was big for the Larks, as it was the first at home this season.
“I’ve been taking extra hacks in the cages. It really is an honor,” Wilcher said.
“He’s been in a lot of big situations,” Larks manager Sean Repay said. “I wanted to give him another opportunity to let loose and live in the moment. The double was great and that home run, he got all of that ball.”
The Larks rode a six-run second inning to their fourth win of the season. They can even their mark with a win in the finale of the homestand tonight.
Andy Lalonde went five innings, giving up four hits and four runs to earn his first win of the season. Luke Chevalier took the loss, giving up one run in the first.
The cleanup spot produced for the Larks. Sadler had two hits, scored a run and drove in two before leaving after getting hit accidentally with a bat in the dugout.
Spencer Gillund drove in a run in the big second inning and added another RBI in the seventh.
The Larks chased two Willmar pitchers in the first two innings to take a 7-0 lead.
Chevalier started for the Stingers and lasted just one inning. The Larks worked deep into counts, had two hits and scored a run. Chevalier reached the mandatory inning pitch count of 35 and was removed after the inning.
Jack Voigt came on and gave up six runs on three hits in the second. But only one of the six runs was earned as the Stingers committed three errors.
Wyatt Ulrich, Sadler, Mason Pierzchalski and Gillund drove in runs.
Gillund’s sacrifice fly chased Voigt after 33 pitchers.
Willmar chipped into the lead with a four-run fifth inning against Larks starter and winner Andy Lalonde. Eric Del Pardo hit a two-run homer and Brady Shockey added a two-run double to make it 7-4.
Bismarck added another run in the sixth when Wilcher ripped a two-out double to right-center to score Ulrich and made it 9-4 in the seventh when Irey doubled and scored on Gillund’s groundout.
The Stingers threatened one more time in the eighth when Rob Emery walked and scored on Eddie Estrada’s triple that Ulrich lost in the lights in left field. Estrada then scored on Del Pardo’s single.
Repay liked the way the Larks came back from Tuesday’s loss.
“We had a very positive talk,” Repay said. “It wasn’t anything negative. We just needed a refresher.