High School Baseball: Maple Grove hands Warriors first loss in 8-4A

Maple Grove 5, Warriors 1 The key: The Crimson scored five times in the bottom of the sixth Overall: Brd 14-9, MG 16-7 Next: No. 5 Brainerd vs. No. 1 St. Michael-Albertville in Section 8-4A losers bracket at Cold Spring 6 p.m. Tuesday MAPLE GROVE...

Maple Grove 5, Warriors 1

The key: The Crimson scored five times in the bottom of the sixth

Overall: Brd 14-9, MG 16-7

Next: No. 5 Brainerd vs. No. 1 St. Michael-Albertville in Section 8-4A losers bracket at Cold Spring 6 p.m. Tuesday

MAPLE GROVE-University of Minnesota recruit Charlie "Bubba'' Horton is usually considered the ace of the Maple Grove Crimson pitching staff.


But Crimson coach Darby Olson wasn't so sure about that after watching left-hander Charlie Hutchinson throw a 3-hit complete game in a 3-1 victory against the Brainerd Warriors in the winner's bracket of the Section 8-4 tournament Saturday.

Hutchinson walked two and struck out six and put the second-seeded Crimson in the driver's seat to win the section title. The senior left-hander struck out six and walked two and blanked Brainerd until the sixth when he surrendered a Chris Karels' RBI single.

"To be truthful, he's been our No. 1 guy most of the year," Crimson coach Darby Carlson said. "He's had the best control, he's had the lowest ERA, he's probably been our most reliable pitcher up to this point.

"He did a great job. He threw strikes. He kept them off-balance a little bit. This game could easily have gone either way."

The loss dropped fifth-seeded Brainerd into the loser's bracket against top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Cold Spring. The winner advances to the section championship round Wednesday, also at Cold Spring, having to beat Maple Grove twice to win the title.

"We've got to play St. Michael and we've got to win that game," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. "Then we would play Maple Grove again so the road doesn't get any easier."

For five innings, Brainerd's Max Boran matched zeroes with Hutchinson. The junior right-hander spaced three hits through five frames before Maple Grove pushed across five unearned runs in the sixth - all with one out.

"Max pitched very well," Scearcy said. "He hasn't pitched a lot for us this year (22 innings before Saturday). I think he was tired toward the end. I think he was up in the 90s for pitches. I probably should have gotten him out a little earlier but you never know."


The fateful Crimson fifth started with a Dylan Peck single and a Brainerd error on a fielder's choice that would have been the second out. Curtis Haugen followed with an RBI single tying the game 1-1. Boran recorded his only strikeout for the second out before issuing a walk.

Horton then delivered an RBI infield single for the go-ahead run. With a 2-0 count, Colin Kleffman replaced Boran and walked in a run. The last two Maple Grove runs scored on a wild pitch with Horton scoring all the way from second.

Peterson finished 2-for-3. Horton and Peck each had two hits for the Crimson (16-7).

The Warriors (14-9) broke up the shutout in the top of the sixth. With one out, Peterson singled and stole second. Bryce Flanagan was intentionally walked and Braydon Borg was hit by a 2-strike pitch to load the bases. Following a strikeout, Karels cracked a single scoring Peterson. Flanagan was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.

"When Borg got hit, I thought we're in the money now," Scearcy said. "We did get one out of it but I guess we needed some more."

Brainerd's other opportunity was in the fourth. Kleffman reached on a leadoff error and was wild pitched to second. Peterson followed with a sharp single to left, moving Kleffman to third. Hutchinson buckled down to get a groundout, strikeout and another groundout to thwart the threat.

"We had chances to score early and didn't. That's the way the game goes," Scearcy said. "It was a pretty good game until that sixth inning."

The Crimson also threatened in the fourth and fifth.


In the Maple Grove fourth, the Crimson botched a suicide squeeze when, with one out, Hayden Thomsen wandered off third base, got caught in a run-down and was tagged out at the plate.

Ranked 14th in Class 4A, Maple Grove left the bases loaded in the fifth. With one out, a walk, hit batsman and an intentional walk filled the bases. Boran induced a fielder's choice grounder - third base to home for the force - and retired Thomsen on long fly ball to center to end the inning.

Brainerd 000 001 0 - 1 3 2

Maple Grove 000 005 x - 5 6 2

Brainerd: Max Boran, Colin Kleffman (6) and Mac Brink.

Maple Grove: Charlie Hutchinson and Bennett Lewis.

WP: Hutchinson.

LP: Boran (0-3).


SB: Brd-McCale Peterson; MG-Dylan Peck

Sac: MG-Nathan Martinson

RBIs: Brd-Chris Karels; MG-Charlie Horton, Jerome Gooley, Curtis Haugen

LOB: Brd 6, MG 9

Section 8-4A Tournament

Saturday's Games

No. 6 Buffalo 3, No. 8 Moorhead 2 (Moorhead eliminated)

No. 1 St. Michael-Albertville 15, No. 7 Elk River 7 (Elk River eliminated)


St. Michael-Albertville 12, Buffalo 2 (5 inn., Buffalo eliminated)

Tuesday's Game

No. 5 Brainerd vs. St. Michael-Albertville at Cold Spring 6 p.m. Tuesday

Wednesday's Games

Brainerd/St. Michael-Albertville winner vs. Maple Grove at Cold Spring 6 p.m. Tuesday; second game, if necessary, 8 p.m.

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads