Baseball: Warriors squander chances in Section 8-4A loss
MAPLE GROVE--Brainerd's Chris Pederson and Maple Grove's Charlie Horton matched each other practically pitch for pitch in a winners' bracket game in the Section 8-4A tournament Thursday.
MAPLE GROVE-Brainerd's Chris Pederson and Maple Grove's Charlie Horton matched each other practically pitch for pitch in a winners' bracket game in the Section 8-4A tournament Thursday.
Unfortunately for the fifth-seeded Warriors, they left 11 runners on base, including the bases loaded twice, seven total runners in scoring position, and fell to the top-seeded Crimson 2-1 Thursday at Maple Grove High School.
"(Horton) seemed to be able to come back and strike people out whenever we had men in scoring position, which I give him a lot of credit for," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. "We had bases loaded and nobody out (in the fifth) and finally scored a run on a walk.
Maple Grove 2, Warriors 1
- The key: Brainerd stranded 11 baserunners
- Overall: Brd 15-7, MG 18-4
- Next: Section 8-4A tournament: Brainerd vs. No. 6 Rogers/No. 7 Osseo winner in losers bracket game at Cold Spring 11 a.m. Saturday; losers bracket game at St. John's 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We had plenty of opportunities. We had men on base most innings. We just weren't able to get that big hit."
The right-handed Pederson was dialed in on a gorgeous afternoon, throwing just 80 pitches, 61 strikes (76 percent). He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 26 batters. He struck out three, walked only one and allowed six hits and two earned runs.
"He pitched really well," Scearcy said. "If you would have told me before the game that we're going to hold them to one or two runs, I would have said we're going to win."
Horton, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior lefty who's verbally committed to the University of Minnesota, worked 6.1 innings, striking out nine and walking two. He yielded eight hits and no earned runs. Horton retired seven of the first eight Warriors and had eight strikeouts through five innings.
"Bubba's been pretty consistent," Crimson coach Darby Carlson said. "If he throws strikes, he's pretty tough to beat."
Horton was relieved by Brett Schulze with one out in the top of the seventh after Tristan Brecht singled and Pederson was hit by a pitch. Schulze, a senior right-hander headed to South Dakota, struck out Jaden Miller and Bryce Flanagan on 3-2 breaking balls to preserve the fifth-ranked Crimson's victory, their 10th in the last 11 games.
"He's done that a number of times for us this year, come in in the late innings and throw strikes. That's the biggest thing he's got to do," Carlson said.
The loss dropped Brainerd into the losers' bracket at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cold Spring. Brainerd High School graduates Friday night.
"To expect us to play at 11 a.m. the day after graduation and Grad Blast is just unacceptable as far as I'm concerned," Scearcy said. "There's no way we should have to play an 11 a.m. game down there even if we hadn't been in Grad Blast. We're coming from quite a ways."
Max Marshall led off the Crimson half of the fifth with a base hit and the score tied 1-1. Drew Lewis bunted him to second. After a Jordan Albers single put courtesy runner Hunter Thomsen at third, Isaac Collins' suicide squeeze scored Thomsen with the decisive run.
Brainerd left runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh as it lost for the first time in eight games.
The Warriors, who outhit the Crimson 8-6, tied the game 1-1 in their half of the fifth as Hanson Devine led off with a single, Jack Geraets' sacrifice bunt was booted and Jake Meyer walked to fill the bases. Horton bore down to strike out Allen Jevning and Tristan Brecht before hitting Pederson to force in courtesy runner Will Peabody. Jaden Miller skied to center to end the inning.
Maple Grove opened the scoring in the second. Lukas Burrington led off with an infield hit and Caleb Gates bunted him into scoring position. Max Marshall's single to right-center scored Burrington.
In the top of the third, Geraets, Jake Meyer and Jevning cracked consecutive one-out hits but the Warriors left the bases loaded on Brecht's ground ball back to Horton and a strikeout.
Devine finished 2-for-3, the only Warrior with more than one hit. Marshall was the only Maple Grove player with two hits.
Brainerd 000 010 0 - 1 8 3
Maple Grove 010 010 x - 2 6 1
Brainerd: Chris Pederson and Allen Jevning.
Maple Grove: Charlie Horton, Brett Schulze (7) and Drew Lewis.
LP: Pederson (2-3).
SB: MG-Josh Wente, Isaac Collins, Lukas Burrington
Sac: Brd-Jaden Miller, Braydon Borg, Jack Geraets; MG-Caleb Gates, Drew Lewis
RBIs: Brd-Pederson; MG-Collins, Max Marshall
DP: Brd 2
LOB: Brd 11, MG 6
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .