Jordyn Sullivan said she wasn't insulted, but it was hard to tell.
Sullivan was standing in the on-deck circle when Buffalo decided to intentionally walk Clare Ceynowa to load the bases with two outs Tuesday, May 14, at Adamson Field in Brainerd.
Sullivan dug into the batter's box and drove a shot over the centerfield fence for her first varsity grand slam. It was Sullivan's second homer of the season and it helped the Brainerd Warriors clip the Buffalo Bison 9-6 in a Section 8-4A matchup.
"The first thing that went through my mind was, 'I need to get a base hit. It would be awesome if I hit a home run, but I just need to get a base hit,'" Sullivan said. "I wasn't insulted, but it gave me a little bit of confidence. It was like, 'You have to do this.' I had to hit the ball."
Sullivan fouled off the first pitch and decided to move up in the batter's box because her timing was off. The adjustment worked.
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Warriors 9, Buffalo 6
- Key: Jordyn Sullivan hit a grand slam
- Overall: Brd 14-3, Buf 8-8
- Next: Brainerd hosts Sartell 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 15 (2)
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"I was really early on my first couple of swings," Sullivan said. "I moved up and slowed my timing down a little bit and that was the trick. I think the pitch was a little bit inside, but I could take it and go with it."
Brainerd built a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. Emma Tautges was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Jenna Meyer reached on a single and Kasia Kroll sacrificed the two over to open first base for Ceynowa, who finished 2-2 with two walks and two runs.
That's when Sullivan, who went 2-4 with two runs, a stolen base and five RBIs, did what Warriors head coach Shane Jordan expected.
"That's why Jordyn is a senior captain," Jordan said. "That's why she hits behind Clare. We figured teams would walk Clare and I want Jordyn up in those situations and she made me look smart today."
The long drive gave Brainerd an 8-1 lead, but it was short lived as Buffalo rebounded with a grand slam of their own in the next inning. Singles by Rachel Noble, Maddie Peters and Shelby Stoll loaded the bases for senior shortstop Sydney Schwartz who matched Sullivan's shot with another hit over the centerfield wall.
Schwartz finished 2-4 with two runs and four RBIs.
Olivia Hoelz gave Brainerd another run in the bottom of the fifth when she opened with a single. Abby Pelowski's sacrifice moved Hoelz from first all the way to third and Emma Tautges' groundout scored Hoelz on a delayed run to home plate.
Hoelz finished 2-2 with a run. Jenna Meyer finished 2-4 with a double and a run and a stolen base.
Chloe Munsch put Brainerd on the board in the second when she was hit by a pitch and manufactured her way home.
In the third, Olivia Tautges walked, Ceynowa singled and Sullivan singled in Tautges. Ceynowa scored on a wild pitch and Sullivan scored on a misplaced throw home for a 4-0 Brainerd edge.
"We have to play small ball sometimes," Jordan said. "We're not always going to be able to hit the ball over the fence. We have to be able to score in a lot of different ways and we did a good job of that. We left some runners in scoring position, too."
Abby Pelowski struck out three and walked two. She allowed six runs, five earned, on 13 hits.
"Another senior captain," Jordan said. "Been here. Done that. She doesn't throw it by people, but she throws it around the bat. She's just really gritty. She is the epitome of grit. She will do whatever it takes to win. She's been that way all year and I'm glad she's on my team."
Brainerd has won six straight after dropping its only three losses of the season during a May 4 home tournament.
The Warriors are now 5-0 against Section 8-4A opponents. It was Buffalo that knocked Brainerd out of last year's playoffs with a 4-3 loss in the section final.
"Our players talked about this game a lot," Jordan said. "I think we talked about it our very first meeting of the year. They were looking forward to this game. We just talked about how this is going to be a healthy rivalry for many years. Coach (Brad) Zrust is a great coach and he was very competitive and I was competitive as well. We were talking to each other there a little bit, but I think it's a healthy rivalry. He and I talked there at the end of the game and we want that from these two teams. They think they're a good program. We think we're a good program. So we look forward to games like today. It was a great game."
The Warriors were sitting third in the section standings with a No. 15 Quality Results Formula ranking. St. Michael-Albertville entered Tuesday's play as the second-seeded team with a No. 14 ranking.
Elk River leads the standings with a 12-3 overall record and a No. 8 ranking. Buffalo is fourth in the section standings.
"Buffalo lost most of their players from last year," Sullivan said. "It was still a big game for us. We all came ready to play and give it to them. It was a big game."
Buffalo 6 13 1
Brainerd 9 8 1
WP: Abby Pelowski. LP: Ella Elbert. 2B: Brd-Jenna Meyer, Buf-Alandra Stoll. HR: Brd-Jordyn Sullivan; Buf-Sydney Schwartz.