Ben Gerl did not have much luck in his previous starts for the Duluth Huskies, but he was called up on Tuesday and the result was a 5-0 Northwoods League win over Willmar Stingers on a sunny 85-degree night before 702 at Wade Stadium.
When he played at the same stadium, his grandfather Bernie Gerl played 70 years ago as a member of Duluth Dukes, and Ben Gerl (1-3) threw seven closing rounds to earn his first win of the season. The North Kentucky left from Joliet, Illinois, allowed just four hits with five strikeouts and a walk as the Huskies moved closer to a NWL playoff spot.
Mike Boeve and Ambren Voitik had two hits each to lead the Huskies offensively while Eric Nelson and Brody Maynard each struck a hit-free relief as the Stingers were held to just four hits. That was it Huskiesthird season finale.
Jakob Newton and William Hamiter each had a hit and walk to lead Willmar (14-16 second inning) while Jack Blesch (2-2) took the loss despite allowing only one earned run in six innings.
The Huskies (15-15) moved to 2.5 games behind vacant Waterloo (17-12) in the Great Plains East second half. More importantly, Duluth (27-37) remained ahead of Eau Claire (26-38) and La Crosse (25-39) in a season-long position that will determine the final playoff spot if Waterloo wins the second half as they did first.
Duluth plays at Mankato 18:35 on Wednesday and Thursday before returning home for a two-match series with Bismarck at 18:35 on Friday and 15:05 on Saturday to end the regular season.