Cayden Kleffman ripped an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning to score the lone run in Brainerd VFW 16U’s 1-0 win over Grand Rapids VFW Thursday, July 23, at Mills Field.

Isaac Hanson scored the winning run and reached on a strikeout, wild pitch. He then stole second and advanced to third on another wild pitch before scoring on Kleffman’s single.

“A very good at-bat,” Brainerd VFW head coach Trent Grams said of Kleffman. “And going with the pitch. Their pitcher was throwing pretty hard and he got a pitch on the outer half of the plate and just went with it, and all the base runners did their jobs too. Just the maturity and leadership of Cayden there was good to see.”

Matt Karlson started for Brainerd and pitched five shutout innings. He struck out 10 and allowed one hit.

Jack Schafer came on in relief and pitched six shutout innings. He allowed five hits and tallied four punch outs.

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“We noticed how well our pitchers worked and how fast our pitchers worked,” Grams said. “They threw strikes and they got out of situations.”

Grams mentioned it’s the best he has seen Karlson pitch this summer.

“He threw strikes. Got strike one and threw fast and he’s got good stuff,” Grams said. “When he does that his stuff is going to take over.”

Grand Rapids starter Ren Morque pitched 8 1/3 innings and struck out 11. He allowed no runs on four hits and three walks.

Brainerd did not get their first hit until the fourth inning when Carter Springer ripped a single down the left field line. He was out at second base trying to stretch it to a double.

Grand Rapids left fielder Ben Keske went 3-for-4 with two singles and a double to lead his team offensively.

In the top of the eighth, Grand Rapids had runners on first and second with no one out. After a sacrifice bunt, put runners on second and third. Schafer got Morque to fly out to shallow left field and then struck out Tyler Norgard to end the threat.

In the bottom of the eighth, Gavin Berg led off with a single. Hanson tried to bunt him over, but popped it up and it turned into a double play to end that threat.

In the bottom of the 10th, Brainerd right fielder Riley DeRosier reached on an error to lead off the inning and Adam Jensen hit into a line drive double play.

Jensen finished the game 1-2 after replacing Karlson who went 0-1 with a walk.

Schafer notched the win and went 1-3 with a hit-by-pitch. Berg went 1-3 with a walk and Springer went 1-3 with a walk and a sacrifice.

Andy Linder was tagged with the loss for Grand Rapids and pitched 2 1/3 innings. He allowed one run on one hit and struck out two.

Brainerd's 15U fell 18-10 to Grand Rapids in the second game.

Brainerd’s next doubleheader is against Little Falls 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, at Mills Field.

Grand Rapids 0 6 1
Brainerd 1 5 2
WP: Jack Schafer. LP: Andy Linder. 2B: GR-Ben Keske.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at