Brainerd’s three and four hitters showed up Thursday, April 29.
Will Carlson and Riley DeRosier each tallied three hits and combined for seven RBIs in Brainerd’s first Central Lakes Conference win against St. Cloud 13-8 at Adamson Field.
The tandem contributed in the bottom of the first. Carlson ripped an RBI single to score starting pitcher Isaac Hanson. Carlson then scored on a DeRosier double to make it 2-0 Warriors after one.
“Hopefully it’s a spark,” Warriors head coach Trent Grams said. “I’m proud of both of (DeRosier and Carlson). To see them both get six total hits during a game that’s going to help us a lot.”
Tech tagged Hanson with three runs in the top of the third to take a brief lead. The Warriors responded with an eight-run bottom of the third to take command.
“We put the ball in play a lot more today than we have all season,” Grams said. “Couple of guys with three hits today and a few guys found some doubles with their gap power. Just a positive game overall offensively.”
The rally started with singles by Carlson and DeRosier. Matthew Karlson looked to advance the runners with a bunt, but reached on a bunt single to load the bases.
Catcher Jonathon Benson ripped a bases-clearing double to put Brainerd back in front 5-3.
“First pitch, best pitch that’s what we’ve been working on all week,” Benson said. “Just see ball, hit ball and hit the ball hard.”
Grams wants his players to swing at the first pitch if it’s in the zone.
“We talk about it every day that the first pitch is the best pitch,” Grams said. “The percentages go way down on getting a hit if you are behind in the count 0-1 or 0-2.”
The rally continued when Carlson came up for a second time in the inning with bases loaded and hit a two-run single. DeRosier kept the line moving with his second hit of the inning, a two-run double, to cap off the eight-run third.
“Whenever you get to bat twice in one inning it’s a good feeling,” Carlson said. “It gets the boys ready to go and go to work.”
Grams liked the way his team responded after losing the lead.
“They just didn’t get down,” Grams said. “We knew that we could keep putting the ball in play and if we stayed within ourselves and just kept having good at-bats … the eight spot was a result of that.”
Benson added his fourth RBI in the bottom of the fourth on a fielder’s choice as the Warriors expanded their lead to 11-3.
Tech didn’t go quietly as the Tigers put four runs in the top of the sixth to cut Brainerd’s lead in half.
Tech sent 10 to the plate in the sixth and had the tying run up with bases loaded and two outs before a strikeout got the Warriors out of the jam.
Hanson pitched 5.2 innings and struck out eight to get the win. Christian Augustine came on in relief of Hanson and struck out three in 1.1 innings.
Brainerd responded to the Tigers’ four-run sixth with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Andrew Zuk, who went 2-3 with a walk, ripped an RBI double that scored Benson who doubled in front of him.
Zuk then scored on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Carlson.
“I just wanted to get on base and do a job,” Carlson said. “It’s definitely a good confidence booster the way guys stepped up.”
The win was revenge for the Warriors who lost to Tech in the first game of the season 3-2 in extra innings.
“We knew what to expect a little bit,” Carlson said. “We saw the same pitcher we did in the first game, so that helped us in the box a little bit. Been watching their record and they’ve been struggling like us, so we just wanted to come out hard and it worked out for us.”
St. Cloud Tech 8 13 2
Brainerd 13 14 1
WP: Isaac Hanson. LP: Michael Friesen. 2B: Brd-Riley DeRosier (2), Jonathon Benson (2), Andrew Zuk, SCT-Andrew Johnson (2), Blake Kilanowski, Jaden Mendel.
Warriors 13, St. Cloud Tech 8
Key: Eight-run third inning propels Brainerd to its first conference win.
Conference: Brd 2-6.
Overall: Brd 1-4.
Next: Brainerd at Sauk Rapids 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 4.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.