Brainerd used the bats in the first game and a hot right arm in the second game to earn a doubleheader sweep over Little Falls on Thursday night.
Brainerd scored nine runs on 13 hits in the first game, and Jack Hegarty pitched a complete-game two-hitter in the second game. Brainerd won by the scores of 9-4 and 2-1.
Hegarty scatterd his two hits in Game Two as he gave up a second-inning hit to Mitch Dorn, and a fourth-inning hit to Aaron Hallberg. He faced just three batters in four of his seven innings pitched.
Hallberg was equally as tough on the mound for Little Falls as he gave up seven hits in seven innings. Three of those hits came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Brainerd scored its lone run.
“Jack just threw strikes and got ahead of hitters and our defense played well,” said Coach Joe Tautges. “He made them put the ball in play. Both pitchers (Little Falls and Brainerd) were outstanding. We were lucky to get a couple of hits in a row to get the run.”
Little Falls oach Chad Kaddatz was equally as impressed with the performance of his starting pitcher. Hallberg threw his first warmup pitch of the game to the backstop, but it wasn’t a sign of things to come.
“He throws hard and when he has control he can be tough,” Kaddatz said of Hallberg. “He had his curve ball working tonight which is a big thing for him and he can be dangerous. He also got out of a couple of jams with runners on second and third and threw a great game.”
The game was scoreless in the fifth inning when Paxton Beadle led off with a bunt for a base hit. Blake Peterson sacrificed him to second base, and Adam Tautges drove him in with a single to right field for Brainerd’s only run of the evening.
“He had two strikes on him and I told him to hit the ball the other way and just put it in play and let the hands do the work,” said Tautges. “He got a pitch in on the hands and dumped it over the second baseman. Luckily, Paxton was quick enough to score from second. It was a big hit.”
With a 1-0 lead, Hegarty struck out two Little Falls batters in the sixth inning, and pitched around a walk to close out the game in the seventh inning.
In Game One, Brainerd exploded for nine runs with Sannes, Blake Thiesse, Dain Barnett and Nate Eschenbacher all getting extra-base hits. Barnett had three RBIs and Eschenbacher was 2-3 with two RBIs. Justin Eschenbacher also had a 2-3 day with two RBIs, and Nate Tautges was 2-3.
Kevin Peterson got the win, giving up just one earned run in seven innings pitched while striking out eight. “I’m glad that I got Drew Sannes in the first game,” Joe Tautges said. “He’s only going to be a sophmore, and he had a double. I wasn’t surprised because he is a good player. It was nice to see everyone pitch in and Dain Barnett got a three run double in the first game. It was a good doubleheader for us.”
Kaddatz reflected on his team not having been together for awhile and the effect it may have had on their play in Game One. He was pleased with the way they responded in Game Two and with Little Falls’ play over the two games.
“I thought it took us a while to get going,” Kaddatz said. “It felt like we hadn’t been on the field since last week. We seemed a little lethargic. We couldn’t get out of the first with them putting up a five spot but they are a good hitting team.
The second game was just a great pitching performance. Aaron Hallberg’s last two games have been a nine-inning complete game against St. Cloud Cathedral and a seven-inning complete game today with two losses to show for it. We started the second game with four guys out of position in the infield so it is nice to see that we have some versatility.”
Little Falls 4 3 2
Brainerd 9 13 2
WP: Kevin Peterson. LP: Luke Thoma. 2B: Drew Sannes (B), Blake Thiesse (B), Dain Barnett (B), Nate Eschenbacher (B). 3B: Matt Hanowski (LF). HR: Aaron Hallberg (LF).
Little Falls 0 2 1
Brainerd 1 7 2
WP: Jack Hegarty. LP: Aaron Hallberg.