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COLD SPRING—Victories over fifth-seeded Buffalo and No. 4 Rogers propelled the Brainerd Warriors into another opportunity in the losers bracket in the Section 8-4A tournament. Following a rain-delayed start of at least 90 minutes Saturday, the No. 7 Warriors outlasted Buffalo 11-9 in a game that started about 7 p.m. Brainerd then disposed of Rogers 5-3 in a game that ended about 11:30 p.m. Colin Kleffman, Max Boran and Sam Miller each had two hits against Buffalo. Hunter Wicklund was the only Warrior with two hits against Rogers.
Erik Stoxen's favorite golfer is colorful pro Rickie Fowler whose attire on a course often includes bright red and orange shirts, pants and hats. In 2013, after carding two holes-in-one in four days at Cragun's Legacy Courses, Stoxen was featured in a Brainerd Dispatch story to commemorate the event. He was photographed wearing an orange hat and white shoes, both with Puma logos, an orange shirt and orange pants. Five years later the now Brainerd High School freshman has exchanged his Fowler attire for blue and white Warrior gear. And he's in the midst of completing his third varsity season for the Warriors.
BUFFALO—They gave it everything they had. Playing their fourth game in less than 24 hours, the third-seeded Brainerd Warriors extended top-seeded Buffalo Bison to the maximum before falling 4-3 in the Section 8-4A championship game Friday, June 1. The Warriors scraped their way back into Friday's final by beating Moorhead, St. Michael-Albertville and Elk River in losers bracket games Thursday, May 31. They would have had to beat the Bison twice Friday to advance to next week's 4A state tournament.
ST. CLOUD—Brainerd's Tanner Lundberg entered as the North Subsection's No. 2 seed but emerged as champion for the third-straight year in the Section 8-2A individual tournament Friday at St. Cloud Apollo. Lundberg beat Becker's Brady Gruenhagen and Jacob Lukkarila on his way to the finals, where he defeated Bemidji's Nick Buffo 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 for the title. The Warrior senior said it was "cool" winning the title for the third time. "Doing it twice was big," Lundberg said. "To top it off with a third (title) my senior year was great."
Jack Evans carded an uncharacteristic 84 in the opening Central Lakes Conference meet during a season shackled by bad April weather. Then he missed the second CLC meet at Willmar to attend the Brainerd Warriors All-Sports Banquet, where he was named the Warriors' male athlete of the year. A sub-par opening round, and missing a meet, may have cost Evans a shot at being a three-time CLC medalist. And, suffering a broken hand late in the hockey season probably didn't help his golf game.
In the 2017 Section 8-4A tournament, the sixth-seeded St. Cloud Tech Tigers waltzed into Adamson Field and ended the second-seeded Brainerd Warriors' season with a stunning 9-inning defeat. A year later, Tuesday's opening round of the tournament in Brainerd presented an almost identical scenario. Last year, and this spring, the Warriors beat Tech twice during the regular season. This year Tech again was No. 6 while the Warriors are No. 3. Brainerd was determined not to repeat last year. Behind stellar pitching from Jordyn Sullivan, and timely power hitting in a 4-run fifth inning, the Warriors blanked Tech 7-0.
Clare Ceynowa doesn't have a driver's license but she can drive a softball. The Brainerd Warriors sophomore catcher enjoyed a stellar week May 6-12. In five games, she finished 8-for-18 with three home runs, including a 3-run walk-off shot to beat Rocori. Her week also included two doubles, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored. Her week included games against Willmar, Rocori and Coon Rapids. Warriors head coach Shane Jordan said he didn't realize how productive of a week the 15-year-old had until he was compiling her stats to nominate her for Central Lakes Conference Player of the Week.
the final home game of the regular season for nine seniors, a pair of juniors boosted the Brainerd Warriors to victory. Right-handers Jordyn Sullivan and Abby Pelowski combined to silence the Sauk Rapids Storm for a 1-0 victory Tuesday in a Central Lakes Conference game at Adamson Field. They combined to retire 19 of the last 20 Storm batters. Sauk Rapids managed only four baserunners all game. Sullivan started and went five innings allowing two hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Pelowski relieved in the sixth and tossed two flawless innings with two strikeouts.
With a team batting average of .248 through 15 games, Brainerd Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy has been willing to try just about anything to generate offense. During Monday's 4-1 victory over the Bemidji Lumberjacks, the Warriors squared around and dropped down two squeezes—both with the bases loaded—and both were successful. Hunter Wicklund and Colin Kleffman led off the Brainerd fifth with consecutive singles before Max Boran moved them up a base with a sacrifice bunt. After Alex Haapajoki was intentionally walked to load the bases, Trystan Richardt squeeze bunted for a hit. David Benson followed with another RBI squeeze for the eventual final score.
After splitting two games on the opening day of the Region 13B Tournament, the Central Lakes College Raiders put themselves in a difficult spot. The Raiders had to win three consecutive games to capture the region championship Friday. They fell one game shy of their goal.