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Baseball: Brainerd puts squeeze on Cards

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When Kenny Rogers wrote the hit song “The Gambler,” he probably wasn’t referring to Lowell Scearcy.

In his 43 years as a head baseball coach, Scearcy hasn’t been known to gamble on the field too often. In fact, he might have gone entire seasons without calling for a suicide squeeze.

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In Thursday’s Central Lakes Conference game against the Alexandria Cardinals, Scearcy signalled for two squeezes, one of which was successful, in the Brainerd Warriors’ 10-3 win at Adamson Field.

The first squeeze occurred in Brainerd’s 5-run second. Dustin Borlaug dropped down a perfect bunt that scored the onrushing Dalton Tibbetts.

Brainerd’s second squeeze wasn’t executed, but it did lead to a run. In the third, Luke Boran missed a squeeze and Tibbetts got caught in the subsequent rundown. But Alexandria threw the ball away, scoring Tibbetts.

“I’m not a big fan of the squeeze at all because so many things can go wrong,” Scearcy said. “The first one did go great, the second one didn’t, but we didn’t score because of the squeeze. After we left men on early, I figured we had to try something to see if we can’t pick up a run or two here and get the lead.

“But you’re right. Normally, I’m not a big fan of the squeeze at all.”

The Warriors upped their CLC record to 6-1 as they received six solid innings from right-hander Blake Peterson and 12 hits, including three from Tibbetts, who scored four runs and stole two bases, and two hits apiece from Blake Thiesse, Peterson and Mitch McLain.

“We got some timely hits, which is good,” Scearcy said. “I hope we can keep that up.”

Peterson raised his record to 3-1 with eight strikeouts. He walked two and allowed four hits and two runs — one earned.

“Blake does a pretty good job,” Scearcy said. “Normally, we figure if we’re going to win we need to hold the other team to three runs or less.”

Peterson, who was followed to the mound by Luke Patron, pitched out of trouble in the first and sixth.

With one out in the first, Alexandria had runners at the corners when Peterson struck out the last two batters.

In the sixth, the Cardinals scored an unearned run before loading the bases with one out. Again, Peterson escaped on a line drive to center, on which the Alexandria runner neglected to tag up, and on a high chopper that he fielded behind the mound and threw out the runner.

The Warriors, who improved to 8-4 overall, benefited from six Alexandria errors that led to seven unearned runs.

“I kind of felt sorry for their third baseman,” Scearcy said. “Thiesse hit that one that took a bad hop right up into his face, and he wasn’t really himself on ground balls the rest of the game, but those things happen. I’m sure they’re sitting out there and they’re not real happy right now.”

Brainerd scored five runs, four unearned, thanks to three Cardinal errors in the second. In addition to Borlaug’s squeeze, the inning included run-scoring singles by Thiesse and McLain.

Paxton Beadle’s RBI single, and Thiesse’s sacrifice fly, put Brainerd ahead 8-1 in the fifth.

Brainerd went up 10-2 in the bottom of the sixth on Ben Stall’s run-scoring single and Ben Arnoldy’s RBI double.

Alexandria 001 001 1 — 3 5 6

Brainerd 051 021 x — 10 12 3

Alexandria: Logan Serum, Nick Knoblach (4) and Pat Leary.

Brainerd: Blake Peterson, Luke Patron (7) and Ben Stall.

WP: Peterson (3-1). LP: Serum.

2B: Blake Thiesse (B), Ben Allen (A), Mitch McLain (B), Ben Arnoldy (B)

SB: Allen, Luke Boran (B), Dalton Tibbetts (B) 2

Sac: Stall, Dustin Borlaug (B)

SF: Thiesse,

RBIs: Borlaug, Thiesse 2, McLain, Jordan Domine (A), Paxton Beadle (B), Stall, Arnoldy

LOB: B 8, A 7

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.

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