ST. CLOUD — Stunned.
That was the reaction in the Brainerd dugout after the top-seeded and Class 3A’s 10th-ranked Warriors were knocked out of the Section 8-3A tournament Saturday night at the Municipal Athletic Complex.
Defense, traditionally one of Brainerd’s strengths, led to Brainerd unraveling in the double-elimination event.
The Warriors committed four errors in a 10-6 loss to No. 7 Bemidji and three more miscues in a 5-2 loss to No. 5 Sauk Rapids, which ended their season on a disheartening note.
“Going into the tournament, I thought it was a tossup, the four teams (left),” Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. “I thought if there was an edge that we had it was probably defensively.
“I don’t know if the teams we played today made an error, and we made (7). ... It happens. There’s not much we can go back and do.”
Third-seeded Alexandria, which outlasted Sauk Rapids 16-10 in the first game, beat Bemidji 7-3 in the second to take command in the double elimination event.
Sauk Rapids plays Bemidji at 4 p.m. Tuesday in St. Cloud and the winner plays Alexandria at 7 p.m. for the title.
A second championship game, if necessary, would be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in St. Cloud.
Sauk Rapids 5, Warriors 2
The Storm, who lost to Brainerd 12-3 on April 28, committed seven errors against Alexandria but played air-tight defense against the Warriors.
They received a complete-game pitching performance from right-hander Grant Chapa, who twirled a 6-hitter. Chapa allowed two earned runs and just one walk with one strikeout.
With the scored tied 2-2 in the fifth, the Storm regained the lead on Dan Swan’s RBI triple past left fielder Blake Thiesse’s sliding attempt to glove the ball.
Sauk Rapids added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh. With one out, Alex Schueller reached on an error and alertly took two bases on Erik Bjork’s shallow single and Bjork went to second on the throw to third.
Joel Haller followed with an RBI single that shortstop Jack Hegarty flagged down behind second base. Losing pitcher Michael Smith balked home the final run.
In a complete game, Smith allowed 10 hits and three earned runs. He struck out seven and walked only two.
Kevin Peterson finished 2-for-3, with a double and triple, to lead Brainerd at bat.
The Storm, who left the bases loaded in the first, scored the game’s first run on Schueller’s sacrifice fly in the third.
Mitch Gwost’s sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth gave Sauk Rapids a 2-0 lead.
Brainerd tied it in its half of the fourth on back-to-back, run-scoring triples by Mitch McLain and Kevin Peterson.
Sauk Rapids 001 110 2 — 5 10 0
Brainerd 000 200 0 — 2 6 3
Sauk Rapids: Grant Chapa and Erik Bjork.
Brainerd: Michael Smith and Bruce London.
W: Chapa. L: Smith (4-1).
2B: Kevin Peterson (B)
3B: Mitch McLain (B), Kevin Peterson, Dan Swan (SR)
SB: Andrew Mauren (SR), Nate Gwost (SR)
S: Nate Gwost, Chapa
SF: Alex Schueller (SR), Mitch Gwost (SR)
RBIs: Schueller, Mitch Gwost, Swan, Joel Haller (SR), McLain, Kevin Peterson
LOB: SR 10, Brd 4
Bemidji 10, Warriors 6
Brainerd squandered a 6-2 lead as Bemidji tied the game with four runs in the sixth. The Lumberjacks forced extra innings and scored four times in the top of the eighth for the win.
In the sixth, Dom Hayle’s three-run triple off the fence pulled Bemidji within 6-5. Collin Lee’s RBI double tied it 6-6.
Three Brainerd errors fueled the Lumberjacks’ eighth-inning rally. Collin Lee and Mason Bellew contributed RBI singles for Bemidji during the inning.
The Warriors lost despite clubbing 12 hits. Patrick Skogen and Blake Thiesse both finished 3-for-4 and Thiesse drove in three runs.
Three Warrior pitchers combined to walk nine and hit four batters but they were hampered by four errors.
In the Brainerd first, Jack Hegarty doubled, advanced on a balk and scored on a wild pitch.
Brainerd went ahead 3-0 in the third. Mitch Bzdok’s fielder’s choice scored Skogen, who had singled. Mitch McLain followed with an RBI single to left.
Bemidji, which beat Brainerd 3-0 in the season opener and lost 3-2 to the Warriors on May 7, tightened the score with two runs in the top of the fourth, scoring on a bases-loaded walk and on Sam Dwyer’s sacrifice fly.
Thiesse’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth put Brainerd in front 4-2. His two-run, sun-aided single in the fifth gave Brainerd its 6-2 edge.
Bemidji 000 204 04 — 10 9 0
Brainerd 102 120 00 — 6 12 4
Bemidji: Zach Solheim, Jeremiah Graves (5) and Collin Lee.
Brainerd: Kevin Peterson, Jack Hegarty (5), Blaine Bubalo (6) and Bruce London.
W: Graves. L: Bubalo (2-2).
2B: Hegarty, Tyler Follis (Bem), Mason Bellew (Bem), Lee, Blake Thiesse (Brd)
3B: Dom Hayle (Bem)
SB: Nick Hovila (Bem), Cody Rutledge (Bem)
S: Mitch Hendricks (Bem) 2, Tyler Lenz (Brd), London
SF: Sam Dwyer (Bem),
RBIs: Mitch Bzdok (Brd), Mitch McLain (Brd), Thiesse 3, Lee 2, Bellew, Solheim, Dwyer, Hayle 3
DP: Bem 1, Brd 1
LOB: Bem 11, Brd 9