Brainerd’s bats heated up in Game Two, but it still wasn’t enough to get a win against Duluth East Friday, May 14.
The Greyhounds scored 24 runs over two games to sweep the Warriors in a non-conference doubleheader 14-1 and 10-7 at Adamson Field.
After dropping Game One 14-1 in five innings, the Warrior bats awoke in Game Two as they put four runs in the first inning and three runs in the second off Duluth East starter Charlie Sutherland.
Will Carlson ripped an RBI double in the first inning of Game Two to score leadoff hitter Andrew Zuk.
With the bases loaded and two outs, catcher Jonathon Benson belted a three-run double and the Warriors led 4-1.
Brainerd jumped out to a 7-1 lead after two innings and all three runs in the second came via wild pitch.
“We were happy with the way we came out in the second game,” Warriors head coach Trent Grams said. “We were up 7-1 and we knew Duluth East was going to hit and they came out and took it to us in the first game.”
Harry Carlson tallied one of his two hits in the second along with Cayden Kleffman.
The Greyhounds responded with a three-run third which was aided by an error.
Brainerd let a golden opportunity to add to its lead get by in fourth by leaving the bases loaded. Cayden Kleffman popped to the catcher and Reice Pikula grounded to first base to keep the score 7-4 in Brainerd’s favor.
Duluth East tied Game Two in the fifth on four hits, none bigger than the two-run double by Joe Vos which tied it.
Ethan Cole, who starred in both games, ripped the go-ahead RBI single for the Greyhounds in the top of the seventh. He came around to score on a two-run single by Sutherland to make it 10-7.
Dean Huddba pitched five shutout innings in relief to earn the win in Game Two.
Charlie Johnson got the loss and pitched 4.2 innings on top of the 1.2 innings he pitched in Game One.
“Super impressed with Charlie Johnson today,” Grams said. “The way he battled and pitched his butt off both games he deserves a lot of credit. He’s a leader. He’s smart. He knows what he is capable of doing. He knows that he needs to be spotting fastballs and keep hitters off balance with curveballs. He did that today and did it twice in both games to help get us a spark.”
Brainerd threatened with the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh of Game Two, but fell short.
Game One was the Ethan Cole show for Duluth East. He tallied four hits and four RBIs, including a two-run home run in the Greyhounds 14-1 win.
Duluth East tallied two in the first inning and six in the second. The first six batters in the second inning came around to score for the Greyhounds. An error sparked the six-run second for the Greyhounds. Cole had an RBI single and Vos a two-run single in that inning as well.
The runs didn’t stop in the third as the Greyhounds scored four more to take a 12-0 lead. Cole had another RBI single followed by a Hubbda sacrifice fly.
Johnson relieved Brainerd starter Conrad Provost, who was charged with 11 runs in two innings pitched.
Brainerd got its lone run in Game One in the bottom of the third when a Reice Pikula double scored Will Carlson.
Cole added two more for the Greyhounds in Game One with his two-run home run off Johnson.
The sweep drops Brainerd to 4-12 and Grams just wants his team to start playing its best come playoff time in a few weeks.
“Our record isn’t showing that right now,” Grams said. “But we also have proven that we can hit fairly well at times. We just need to clean up our defense and learn how to make big plays in big games.
“We just got to relax. You can’t play baseball tense. You can’t play baseball angry. You can’t really even play baseball too excitedly. You have to be relaxed and confident and if you combine those two things you’re going to make plays.”
Duluth East 14 17 1
Brainerd 1 7 2
WP: Joe Nick. LP: Conrad Provost. 2B: DE-Dean Huddba, Joe Vos, Garrett Johnson Brd-Reice Pikula. HR: DE-Ethan Cole.
Duluth East 10 11 0
Brainerd 7 8 1
WP: Dean Huddba. LP: Charles Johnson. 2B: Brd-Will Carlson, Jon Benson DE-Joe Vos.
Warriors drop 2
Key: Duluth East slugs its way to a sweep
Overall: Brd 4-12.
Next: Brainerd at Fergus Falls 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 18.