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Nick Hamilton of the Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers ran past the Rochester catcher

NORTHWOODS LEAGUE: Despite error-filled start, Lunkers wind up with win

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The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers survived a rough early start and Garrett Anderson came out of the bullpen to pitch four shutout innings as the Lunkers defeated Rochester 10-5 Tuesday Night before 693 fans at Mills Field.

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The Lunkers took two out three from the Honkers and improved their season record to 33-31.

Anderson came on in relief of starter John McLeod to get the win for the Lunkers while Jeff McKenzie took the loss.

‘My approach was to go out there and throw strikes, and get ahead of the batters,” said Anderson. “Coach Levendoski called me out a little bit after my last game. I was able to keep my emotions down and get to my balance point tonight and that helped out a lot.”

Early in the game the Lunkers and Honkers played like two teams that are ready to head home for the summer. The teams combined for 12 errors for the game. The Lunkers committed four in the first two innings, but settled down after that. 

In the first inning, a throwing error by Matt Hillsinger led to one earned run for Rochester. In the second inning, Wade Wass and Dan Olinger each had a throwing error as the Honkers scored two more runs to jump out to a 4-2 lead.

After trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Brainerd scored two runs of their own. Vince Bruno scored Nick Hamilton with a broken bat single into left field. Casey Roche then drove home Bruno with a solid single into left field.

In  the third, the Lunkers generated another scoring threat. Dan Olinger grounded a on- out double just inside of the first base bag and into the right field corner. 

Vince Bruno then hit a ground ball to the shortstop with Olinger running on the hit.  The Honkers had an easy play at third to get Olinger, but botched the tag and the Lunkers had runners on first and third. However, Bruno was thrown out on a steal attempt and Roche struck out to strand Olinger at third.

Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Tommy Reyes hit a fly ball to left center field that both of the Honkers fielder hesitated on. Wade Wass then hit a towering fly ball to deep left center field that was lost in the lights to score Reyes.  

Reyes moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Ryan Abrahamson, and came into score on a liner to left field by Tyler Wampler to give Brainerd a 5-4 lead. Matt Hillsinger bunted and a wild throw by the Honkers third baseman to score allowed Wampler to score all the way from first with Hillsinger moving to third. Hillsinger came into score on a hit from Nick Hamilton and the Lunkers had a 7-4 lead.

“The first couple of innings were rough with us giving them a couple of runs early with some errors,” said head coach Ryan Levendoski. “Garrett did a nice job throwing strikes. It was a great effort by the guys to come back and continue to play hard.”

Brainerd added three more insurance runs in the seventh, and Tyler Sparger closed out the Honkers in the last two innings.

Rochester 220 000 010 —  5  9  7

Brainerd   200 104 30x — 10 12 5

Rochester: Jeff McKenzie, Garrett Benson (6), James Gilbertson (8) and Justin Kline

Brainerd: John McLeod, Garrett Anderson (4), Tyler Sparger (8) and Wade Wass

W: Garrett Anderson. L: Jeff McKenzie. 

2B: Justin Kline (R), Dan Olinger (B), Tommy Reyes (B), Wade Wass (B) 

SB: Eric Birch (R), Davy Wright (R), Jordan Tackett (R) 2, Dan Olinger (B),  

RBIs: Davy Wright (R), Vince Bruno (B), Casey Roche (B), Wade Wass (B), Nick Hamilton (B),  Tyler Wampler (B)

DP: Roch 1, 

LOB: Roch 14, Brd 8

Time: 2:58

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with Causecast.org — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
(218) 855-5879
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