Warriors shut out Moorhead in season-opening sweep
Any offensive questions the Brainerd Warriors had this season were quickly answered Tuesday.
The Warriors jumped out to an 8-0 first-inning lead in Game One of their non-conference doubleheader with the Moorhead Spuds.
All nine Warriors reached base on their first at bat, helping Brainerd to a 13-0 victory. The Warriors completed the sweep with a 7-0 Game Two win at Adamson Field in Brainerd.
Bailey O’Hotto opened the bottom half of the first with a double. Sara Wennerstrand highlighted the early barrage with a three-run triple. Maria West’s RBI single concluded the eight-run season opening inning.
“That was nice to see,” said Warriors head coach Mike Zauhar. “We have so many question marks in the lineup right now, but I think we have some speed there. We also have some kids that can bunt and we’ve also got some kids that can swing the bat.
“We were really pleased with the offensive output for both games.”
RBI singles by Nikki Anderson and Paige Lothert helped Brainerd tally four runs in the third and O’Hotto, who finished 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored, added another run in the fourth for the 13-0 blowout.
What wasn’t a question was pitching. Anderson and Chelsie Manton combined for five perfect innings. Anderson pitched the three-inning victory and struck out six. Manton pitched the final two innings and struck out three.
“I’m really glad coach got me out there to pitch,” Manton said. “I started at short, played right field and pitched. It was nice to move around and I really enjoyed getting time on the mound.”
Manton was 2-3 with two RBIs and a run. Nikki DeChaine was 2-4 with an RBI. Anderson went 2-3 with two RBIs. Lothert drove in two runs and Kaitlyn Bible was 1-1 with two RBIs and a run.
“I feel like we don’t have as much power, but we still have those power hitters in Hannah Kangas, Nikki DeChaine, Nikki Anderson and Sara Wennerstrand all came through with hits,” said Manton. “Speed on this team is very good. We have Bailey O’Hotto and myself at the top of the lineup. I feel like if we get on, we’re bound to get in with those people behind us.”
The Warriors posted three runs in the second and two in the third, leading to the Game Two win. Bible went 1-1 with three runs scored and an RBI. Wennerstrand drove in three runs as she went 1-2 with a run.
Brainerd’s youth didn’t show in the second game as it patiently induced six walks and chased Moorhead starter Kylee Bartholemay after two innings.
“This was huge, especially for our younger players to get some playing time,” Zauhar said. “To come out fresh out of the blocks like that it was a nice start.”
Anderson went the distance for the win. She allowed one single and hit a batter. She finished with seven strikeouts for the complete-game shutout.
“It feels real good because it shows the girls that all that practice is paying off,” said Manton. “If we can stay strong and keep going, if we can do this for the first games, what can we accomplish for the rest of them? We can only get better.”
Moorhead 000 00 — 0 0 2
Brainerd 804 01 — 13 12 0
Moorhead: Emily Kari and Taylor Rasmussen. Brainerd: Nikki Anderson, Chelsie Manton (4) and Nikki DeChaine. W: Anderson. LP: Kari. 2B: Brd-Bailey O’Hotto. 3B: Brd-Sara Wennerstrand. RBI: Brd-Manton 2, DeChaine, Anderson 2, Paige Lothert 2, Wennerstrand 3, Maria West. Sac: Brd-Kaitlyn Bible. SB: O’Hotto, Bible.
Moorhead 000 000 0 — 0 1 0
Brainerd 032 020 x — 7 6 0
Moorhead: Kylee Bartholemay, Kari (3) and Sadie Ness. Brainerd: Anderson and DeChaine. WP: Anderson. LP: Bartholemay. 2B: Brd-Bible. Sac: Brd-Wennerstrand. RBI: Brd-Bible, Wennerstrand, West, Wennerstrand 3.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.