The Brainerd Warrior baseball team played completely opposite games in a doubleheader split against two Central Lakes Conference opponents Thursday, May 23, at Adamson Field in Brainerd.
In the afternoon game, Brainerd edged the St. Cloud Tech Tigers 2-1 in a one-hour, 20-minute sprint as winning pitcher Broc Peterson struck out 10 in tossing a complete game. In a marathon nightcap, the Alexandria Cardinals assumed an early 6-1 lead and held on to edge the Warriors 8-7.
"I liked our effort today," Brainerd coach Trent Grams said. "We played well in the first game, and really battled back to put ourselves in a good position to tie it or take the lead in the sixth inning. I give Alexandria credit because they had an answer every time we scored. We just came up one run short."
Grams added that his squad's admirable effort in the doubleheader should be a motivation for next week's Section 8-4A playoffs.
"If we show the fight and determination that we showed today, then our kids feel like they have a chance in the playoffs," Grams said. "We just need to have a solid (pitching) start and clean up a few things (defensively)."
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Alexandria 8, Warriors 7
- Key: Cardinals assumed an early 6-1 lead and held off Brainerd
- Earlier: Brainerd 2, Tech 1
- Conf: Brd 9-5, Alex 11-2, SCT 4-10
- Overall: Brd 12-7, Alex 13-3, SCT 4-14
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Section 8-4A will seed in the morning Friday, May 24.
Alexandria showed why they're CLC champions this spring by assuming a 5-0 lead in the first inning. The Cardinals' Evan Lund came across for the first run on Kade Loge's single. Then Luke Levasseur's sacrifice fly scored Loge to make it 2-0. Senior Isaac Peterson followed with a three-run homer over the left-field fence.
Brainerd answered with a run in the bottom of the first when Broc Peterson reached on an error and eventually scored on Gunnar Wickland's single. Alexandria extended the lead to 6-1 in the second as Mathew Carlson walked to lead off the inning and scored on Levasseur's single.
The Warriors cut the deficit to 6-2 when Renzen Caughey walked and later scored on a throwing error. Seth Vagts followed with an RBI groundout to make it 6-3. Brainerd tightened up the game in the fourth on Peterson's two-run homer.
The Cardinals added a run in the fifth on Levasseur's RBI single and then made it 8-5 in the sixth on Loge's RBI hit. Alexandria threatened to extend its lead with one out and the bases loaded, but reliever Brady Anderson shut the door with the final two outs.
Brainerd rallied in the bottom of the sixth as Josh Hukriede led off with a walk and Peterson followed with a double. Both runners scored on Vagts' bloop single to make it 8-7. Brady Anderson singled to advance Vagts to third base as the potential tying run with one out. But the runners were stranded following a fly out and a force out.
The Warriors did have the tying run into scoring position in the seventh when Sam Miller singled and stole second. But relief pitcher Tate Breitkreutz fanned three hitters in the inning to end the threat.
Brainerd's starting pitcher Colby Watland allowed just three hits and struck out six in four innings, but surrendered five walks and six runs. Reliever Ethan Sannes allowed four walks and two runs in 1 1/3 innings while Brady Anderson allowed one hit and one walk in the final 1 2/3 innings.
Levasseur, who started on the mound for the Cardinals, allowed three runs in one inning while winning pitcher, Riley Nelson, surrendered four runs in five innings. Peterson and Vagts each had two hits for the Warriors. Loge had two hits for the visitors.
Warriors 2, St. Cloud Tech 1
Against the Tigers, Brainerd scored single runs in the third and fourth innings before Tech rallied with one run in the top of the seventh on Joe Dolan's RBI double. But Dolan was stranded on second base as Peterson forced the final out to earn the complete game win. Peterson allowed six hits and two walks.
"It was my best game pitching this season," said Peterson, who improved his record to 3-1. "All of my pitches were working today."
The Warriors opened the scoring in the third inning on Seth Vagts' RBI single. Brainerd made it 2-0 on Gunnar Wickland's solo homer in the fourth. Eight different Warriors had one hit.
St. Cloud Tech 1 6 1
Brainerd 2 8 0
WP: Broc Peterson. LP: Peyton Bigaouette. 2B: Tech-Joe Dolan. HR: Brd-Gunnar Wicklund.
Alexandria 8 6 4
Brainerd 7 7 3
WP: Riley Nelson. LP: Colby Watland. 2B: Alex-Josh Wegner; Brd-Broc Peterson. HR: Alex-Isaac Peterson; Brd-Broc Peterson.