Baseball: Warriors' season ends due to missed opportunities
Rogers 4, Warriors 0 The key: Brainerd left 10 runners on base including the bases loaded twice Overall: Brainerd finishes 15-8, Rogers 15-8 COLD SPRING -- Leaving the bases loaded twice in the last two playoff games proved to be the Brainerd War...
Rogers 4, Warriors 0
The key: Brainerd left 10 runners on base including the bases loaded twice
Overall: Brainerd finishes 15-8, Rogers 15-8
COLD SPRING - Leaving the bases loaded twice in the last two playoff games proved to be the Brainerd Warriors' Achilles' heel in the Section 8-4A tournament.
In a 2-1 loss to top-seeded Maple Grove Thursday, the Warriors left the bases loaded twice, stranding 11 runners in all, and were defeated 2-1 by the fifth-ranked Crimson in a winners' bracket game.
Saturday, the Warriors again left the bases filled twice, and stranded 10 for the game, against sixth-seeded Rogers and the Royals whitewashed No. 5 Brainerd 4-0, ending the Warriors' season in a losers' bracket game.
Two Warrior errors resulted in all four Rogers runs being unearned. The Royals managed just three hits off Brainerd right-hander Hanson Devine, but they were 2-out doubles by Brennan Unruh and Sam Ripley that drove in three runs.
"We didn't hit the ball super great today," Rogers coach Brian Harapat said. "I don't know how many hits we had, but it wasn't very many. 'Rip' and Brennan have been pretty clutch for us at different times throughout the year. They came through at the end at the right time today."
Devine went all seven innings striking out four and walking four.
"Considering he was pitching with three days rest, which is one less than we would have liked, he pitched well," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said.
Brainerd managed just four hits off of Rogers' right-hander Mitch Spilles, who worked 5.1 innings. He walked four and allowed three hits. Reliever Shawn Watercott finished. He allowed one hit with one strikeout and earned a save.
"Mitch is now 8-1 with an ERA of about 0.7, I think," Harapat said. "Last week he pitched on four days rest, now he came back on three days. For him to go back-to-back and throw quality games in both of them, and to shut them down today, that was pretty huge."
After three scoreless innings, the Royals struck for two runs in the fourth. With one out, Ripley walked and stole second. Tanner Palm then hit a come-backer to the mound, but Devine threw errantly to third base, allowing Ripley to score. After a strikeout, Unruh unloaded a long run-scoring double to left bringing courtesy runner Jack Kammers across the plate.
Rogers seized a 4-0 lead in the fifth on Ripley's 2-out, 2-run double to the fence in left. The hit scored Ryan Davidson, who had walked, and Drew Sagehorn, who reached on a throwing error.
Brainerd left the bases jammed in the fifth and sixth.
With two out in the fifth, Jack Geraets singled to right, Jake Meyer walked and Allen Jevning reached on an infield error. Tristan Brecht then grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
In the sixth, with one out, Jaden Miller reached on an error, Bryce Flanagan walked and Braydon Borg blooped a single to left to fill the bases. Watercott relieved Spilles and retired the side on a foul pop-up near the third base dugout and a pop-up to short.
With one out in the seventh, Jevning singled before Brecht struck out and Chris Pederson grounded out to end the season. After a 1-4 start, Brainerd won 14 of its last 18 games to finish 15-8.
"The morning after Grad Blast is not a good time to play a baseball game," Scearcy said. "But the kids had a good game. I just told them to hold their heads up and appreciate the season that we've had especially the second half when we were kind of getting better as we went.
"We hit the ball so well against Moorhead, then it just kind of stopped. Other than Grad Blast, I'm not sure what the answer to that would be."
Rogers 000 220 0 - 4 3 2
Brainerd 000 000 0 - 0 4 2
Rogers: Mitch Spilles, Shawn Watercott (6) and Peter Fehr.
Brainerd: Hanson Devine and Allen Jevning.
LP: Devine (5-4).
2B: R-Brennan Unruh, Sam Ripley
SB: R-Ripley, Ryan Davidson, Drew Sagehorn
RBIs: R-Unruh, Ripley 2
DP: Brd 1
LOB: Brd 10, R 5
Section 8-4A Tournament
No. 1 Maple Grove 6, No. 8 Buffalo 2
No. 5 Brainerd 8, No. 4 Moorhead 5
No. 3 Elk River 3, No. 6 Rogers 2
No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville 8, No. 7 Osseo 5
Maple Grove 2, Brainerd 1
Elk River 18, STMA 10
Moorhead 6, Buffalo 3 (Buffalo eliminated)
Rogers 7, Osseo 5 (Osseo eliminated)
Saturday, June 4
Maple Grove ? Elk River ?
Rogers 4, Brainerd 0
STMA 4, Moorhead 0
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .