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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.
Jake Hodge Sport: Tennis Position: No. 3 singles Year: Senior Age: Turns 19 Friday, May 11 Height: 6-0 Career highlight: Going to state in football in 2017 Other sports: Football, weightlifting Grade-point average: 4.3 Favorite class: AP Government with Ms. Bastian Favorite food: Mashed potatoes and gravy Favorite movie: "Godfather" Favorite TV show: "Seinfeld" Favorite restaurant: Taco Bell Future plans: Plans to study neuroscience at Michigan State University Favorite athlete: Randy Moss
Despite committing six errors that led to all the runs they surrendered being unearned, the Willmar Cardinals emerged with a victory. Willmar secured its 6-5 win over the Brainerd Warriors in a brisk Central Lakes Conference game Tuesday at Adamson Field scoring in the top of the seventh to snap a 5-5 deadlock. Caleb Owens led off the seventh with a single and was bunted to second. A dropped pop-up put him at third and he scored the game-winner on Andy Schultz's RBI single. "A lot of things could be said about this game," Willmar coach Tom DeBoer said. "Both teams made a lot of mistakes and gave extra outs to each other. It came down to the last at bat, just like I felt it was going to."
After using six pitchers in their first four games this week, the Brainerd Warriors needed a complete game from Colin Kleffman in Game Two of a Central Lakes Conference doubleheader Friday at Adamson Field. And Kleffman provided it during a 12-2 Brainerd victory in Game Two. He issued only one walk and allowed nine hits, but trusted his defense to make the plays. The Warriors turned two double plays behind him and center fielder Max Boran made a diving catch with two runners on and two out in the fourth. "I'm kind of pitching for my defense to make some plays," Kleffman said. "I'm not pitching to strike them out. I'm more of a pitch-to-get-them-out kind of guy.
Brainerd Warrior boys golf coach Brian Wallace calls him "Mr. Steady." After Monday's Central Lakes Conference meet at Willmar, Brainerd's Cody Evans is averaging 71.5 strokes per round. In the first five meets of the season, he was a medalist twice and finished second twice. His fourth-place finish at Willmar was his lowest so far this spring. Last week, Evans had a career week. He tied for medalist honors at the Lakeview Course in Detroit Lakes with a 1-over-par 65. He placed second at Pebble Lake Golf Course in Fergus Falls with a 75. He capped off his memorable week with medalist honors Saturday, April 30, at The Vintage at Staples with a 3-under-par 69.
Jack Evans was in a conundrum. Should he play in a Central Lakes Conference golf meet that teed off at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 30, at Willmar or, as a senior, attend what would be his final Brainerd Warriors All-Sports Banquet? After a little arm twisting from family and friends, it turns out Evans made the correct decision as he was named the Warriors' Male Athlete of the Year at the banquet. Three-sport athlete Regan McElfresh took home with the female honor.
With four games in five days this week, and pitch counts in effect, the Brainerd Warriors couldn't afford to use many pitchers against the Alexandria Cardinals Thursday. Even though the teams combined to hit five batters, issue 17 walks and commit two balks, the Warriors managed to use only McCale Peterson and Colin Kleffman on the mound as they escaped with a 10-9 victory at crisp Adamson Field. "Colin was going to start our game (Friday)," Warriors head coach Lowell Scearcy said, "but we decided if we get ahead we're going to bring him in today and try to win the game because Alexandria is a real good team. So we did, but I have to talk to (assistant coach) Keith Peterson and decide what we're going to do the next two days.
Unpredictable April weather during an unstable spring disrupted, or wiped out, roughly three weeks of competition. It affected the Brainerd Warriors softball team which had been practicing inside since March 12. The Warriors were able to practice outside one day before hosting a 3-game tournament last weekend against Cloquet, Champlin Park and West Fargo Sheyenne. Once the Warriors got outside, Brainerd senior shortstop Lexi Roby was raring to go and exhibited that by going 4-for-7 with two doubles, a grand slam and five RBIs during the tournament. She also scored five runs and swiped two bases.
Five years ago was the worst—weather-wise—I had ever seen for spring sports. In April of 2013, snow, rain and cold forced nearly an entire month's worth of lakes area high school sports—and state-wide—and Central Lakes College in Brainerd to postpone or cancel almost all of their events.