BASEBALL: Brainerd smacks Eagles 10-1
On another cold, gloomy day for baseball, the Brainerd Warriors smacked the ball all over Adamson Field on Tuesday.
Combined with sound pitching by Kevin Peterson and Mike Smith, and two double plays, the result was a 10-1 victory over the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles.
Bruce London and Blake Thiesse were each 3-for-4, and Mitch Bzdok ripped two RBI doubles as Brainerd improved to 3-1 overall.
“That’s a good team,” Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said of Apollo. “I thought they were going to be one of the top teams, and I still think they will be. They hit the ball pretty good, and their pitcher (Reese Gregory) threw well last year as a sophomore.
“Kevin pitched well, and Mike came in and did a nice job. We were happy about both of them because Mike, being a left-hander, that gives us one more weapon as we go along.
“I thought we hit the ball the best we have all year because, again, it was off a pretty good pitcher.”
London snapped out of a 2-for-9 start with two extra-base hits, including a two-run double in a five-run Brainerd fifth, raising his average to .385.
“At the beginning of the year I wasn’t seeing the ball real well, I was way out in front of everything and getting fooled,” London said. “This week in practice we worked hard on staying back on the ball, keeping the weight on our back leg. I think we all did that today.
“Our bats just came alive today. We’re increasingly getting better. We’re just starting to play baseball now.”
Bzdok drilled run-scoring doubles off the fence in the third and fifth.
Thiesse drove in a run with a fifth-inning single. Patrick Skogen added an RBI single in the sixth. Peterson slammed a two-run single in the second. It initially was a triple before Apollo appealed and he was ruled out for missing second base.
“It’s a good start to the year, pitching-wise,” Peterson said. “I need to get more comfortable at the plate, but overall it’s been a good start.”
Peterson pitched five innings, striking out three, walking four and allowing three hits and one run (earned), improving his record to 2-1.
“After the second inning it was pretty much just the straight fastball,” Peterson said. “I kind of lost the slider and the split-finger, but it was all right. It felt good throwing hard. I hit pretty good spots all around.”
London was impressed with Peterson’s outing. The only run Apollo scored was in the second as Blake Maslonkowski led off with a single. Alex Funk doubled him to third and Maslonkowski scored on a groundout.
“I’ve never seen him pitch this good, all the years that I’ve caught him,” London said. “It’s just the beginning of the year, so he can only go up from here. He’s a great asset to our team. We have great pitching. We’re going to do real well.”
In two innings, Smith struck out three, walked two and gave up no hits or runs.
“We’re really happy with the way things went today,” Scearcy said. “We got a couple double plays. Right now we’re kind of on a roll and let’s hope we can keep it up.”
St. Cloud Apollo 010 000 0 — 1 3 3
Brainerd 022 051 x — 10 13 0
Apollo: Reese Gregory, Austin Haugen (5) and Erik Jarosch.
Brainerd: Kevin Peterson, Michael Smith (6) and Bruce London, Ben Stall (7).
W: Peterson (2-1). L: Gregory.
2B: Alex Funk (SCA), London 2, Mitch Bzdok (B) 2
SB: Mitch McLain (B), Blake Peterson (B), Bryan Benson (SCA), Brandon Bloch (SCA)
RBIs: Dylan Jaeger (SCA), K. Peterson 2, Bzdok 2, London 2, Patrick Skogen (B), Blake Thiesse (B)
DP: Brd 2
LOB: SCA 4, Brd 9
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.