Rain and inclement weather postponed the Brainerd Lunkers game against the Thunder Bay Border Cats Saturday night, turning Sunday’s scheduled game into two, seven-inning games.
And, the Lunkers went on to sweep the Border Cats 8-2 and 3-2 Sunday in Northwoods League North Division action at Mills Field.
Charlie Henderson took the win for the Lunkers in Game One, pitching six innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits, and striking out seven on the way to improving his record to 3-1.
“I was ready to go (Saturday) night, 100 percent loose, all warmed up, and then the lighting and tornado (warning) came, pushing the game to today,” said Henderson. “I didn't know how my arm would feel this morning but it felt really good.”
It was Henderson’s final start in a Lunkers uniform at Mills Field after three years with the club.
“I really enjoy it here, I have come to love pitching in front of this home crowd, but all good things have to come to an end,” said Henderson. “I had fun here and I will definitely remember it forever.”
Kye Winter picked up the win in Game Two, bouncing back from three losses in a row to up his record to 4-3 as a starter. Winter pitched a complete game, giving up six hits, and two earned runs, while walking four, and striking out four.
The Lunkers came out swinging in the first inning of Game One, sending 10 men to the plate, scoring five runs on five hits, and knocked Border Cats starter Cory Caruso out of the game after one-third of an inning. Three of those hits were RBI doubles from Dan Olinger, Steven Brault and Casey Roche.
Brault collected two RBIs from his well-hit ball to deep right field.
The hits kept coming for Brainerd in the third when Roche blasted a two-run home run 370 feet over the left field wall, giving the Lunkers a big 7-0 lead.
In two games Roche went 3-6 with a double, home run, and four RBIs.
“I went 0-9 in Mankato so it was good to get back on track,” said Roche. “I took some tips from (teammate) Ryan Abrahamson, the change of scenery back home, and the day off (Saturday) got me back in the groove.”
The Border Cats got their first hit off of Henderson in the fifth as they scratched their way on the board, scoring two runs to make it a 7-2 game.
The Lunkers responded with a run off a Tommy Reyes RBI single down the third base line, scoring Paul Toboni, who walked earlier in the inning.
Reyes was 3-4 in Game One.
Brainerd scored first in Game Two as well, getting one in the second to take the early lead. With no outs and runners on first and second, Roche switched from the power he showed in Game One, showing some finesse in dropping down a bunt that put both runners in scoring position for Jon Crist, who picked up the RBI with a ground-ball fielder’s choice.
Winter got in trouble in the third, loading the bases for Border Cat Casey Selsor, who hit a ground ball single just past shortstop Tyler Wampler that scored two runs, giving Thunder Bay the lead.
Brainerd regained the lead in the fourth with two runs and that’s how the game finished.
Brault and Vince Bruno started the inning by reaching first and third with no outs. Roche came through with a line drive up the middle, scoring Brault and tying the game. The Lunkers used a leadoff sacrifice bunt from Crist one play later to score Bruno.
In Game Two, Brault and Bruno went 2-3.
Brainerd will host Mankato in the first of a three-game series starting at 7:05 p.m. Monday before heading to Duluth on Thursday.
Monday’s game will be the Lunkers’ 99th home game at Mills Field.
Thunder Bay 000 020 0 — 2 3 1
Brainerd 502 010 x — 8 11 3
Thunder Bay: Cory Caruso, James Kimsey (1), Brian Voight (6), and Kyle Mossbarger.
Brainerd: Charlie Henderson, Tyler Harris (7), and Wade Wass.
W: .Henderson L: Caruso
2B: Brd-Dan Olinger, Steven Brault, Casey Roche
RBIs: TB-Sam Maus; Brd-Olinger, Brault (2), Casey Roche (3), Ryan Abrahamson, Tommy Reyes
LOB: TB-3, Brd-7
Thunder Bay 002 000 0 — 2 6 3
Brainerd 010 200 x — 3 5 2
Thunder Bay: John Straka, Donnie White (6) and Evan Weibel.
Brainerd: Kye Winter and Jon Crist.
W: .Winter L: Straka.
SB: Brd-Tyler Wampler, Paul Toboni
CS: TB-Ty Wosleger
RBIs: TB-Casey Selsor (2); Brd-Crist, Casey Roche
LOB: TB-7, Brd-7