Matt Gruber, who pitched all but the first inning of the win over New London-Spicer Sunday night also helped his own cause going 5-5 and hitting for the cycle with two singles, a double, a triple and a homerun. Photos by Tim Douglass

Matt Gruber hit for the cycle homering in the sixth to break the game open for the Starbuck Stars as they advanced in the playoffs with a decisive 12-5 win  over New London-Spicer at Marthaler Field on Sunday night.

The New London-Spicer Twins defeated the Norway Lake-Sunburg Lakers in the first round of a County Line League contest on Saturday in Spicer.

While NL-S scored three in the top of the first inning, the Stars responded scoring two in the first.  Darion Alexander singled in the first to get things started, followed by a Matt Gruber single to right advancing Alexander to third; Gruber took second on the throw.  Austin VerSteeg then singled to  left scoring  Alexander and Gruber.

Starbuck added three more in the second inning giving the Stars a 5-3 lead and they never trailed again.

The NL-S Twins did score again in the top of the fifth to tie the game, but the Stars came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring two more on a two-run single by Michael Andreas to take a 7-5 lead.  

The Stars broke the game open in the sixth.  Andy Toop started with a single and Mitchell Gruber reached on a fielders choice to replace Toop on first.  Then Matt Gruber singled to advance Mitchell Gruber to second.  With two on, Matt Gruber homered to right field giving the Stars a 10-5 lead.

The Stars added two more in the eighth frame when Matt Gruber tripled, scoring Alexander after he singled to center and Gruber scored on a pass ball.

Matt Gruber earned the win for the Stars, giving up just two runs on 11 hits over 8 and a third innings on the mound.  He struck out nine and walked one.

Matt Gruber, Darion Alexander and Micheal Andreas all had multiple hits for the Stars. The Stars dwill continue playoffs this weekend in Atwater, day and time still to be determined.