There is a saying in baseball that “walks will come back to haunt you.” More often times then not batters who are walked end up crossing home plate for runs.
On Monday, the Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers had six batters get on base via the walk, but got nothing to show for it in a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Mankato MoonDogs.
The MoonDogs scored two runs in the first inning, and one run in the second inning. Pitcher Jordan Remer pitched six innings for Mankato, and was picked up by Mike Rivera in the sixth inning, and by Mason Randolph in the nint.
“He (Remer) was effectively wild,” said Brainerd head coach Ryan Levendoski. “We had an opportunity with guys on first and second and got a bunt down, but then had two strikeouts. We couldn’t get the timely hits. Our defense and pitching is going to be there, it’s just a matter of getting those timely hits.”
Levendoski sent All-Star Steven Brault to the mound to start for the Lunkers. Brault earned his way on to the All Star team with his talents in the outfield and at the plate.
However, Levendoski had signed Brault to be a pitcher for the summer, and he will be getting plenty of opportunities to pitch in the second half.
With one out in the top of the first inning, Brault walked the MoonDogs James Roberts and Sam Lind. Steve NyNyisztor then hit a two hopper down the third base line that got under the glove of third baseman Dan Olinger and went into left field to score Roberts. Nick Judkins then knocked in Sam Lind with a ground out to second baseman Tommy Reyes and Mankato led 2-0.
After that, Brault settled down and finished with a strong performance over six innings of pitching, giving up jost one earned run while striking out five.
“Steven did a great job in just his second start of the year,” said Levendoski. “He’s done a good job with throwing strikes every time he has been out there. He ran into a little trouble in the first inning with a couple of walks, but if we make a play behind him it’s probably a 1-0 ballgame.”
Tyler Wampler led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk, but was then picked off by Remer. The Lunkers then got Nick Hamilton and Vince Bruno on base by virtue of two walks in the second inning, but they would be stranded on strikeouts by Jon Crist and Matt Hillsinger.
Brainerd had runners on first and second in the third and fourth inning, but came away with nothing to show for it.
The Lunkers last real threat came in the seventh inning. After Casey Roche started the inning by striking out, Jon Crist singled to center field off reliever Matt Mazzoni. Matt Hillsinger followed that with an infield hit and Brainerd had a threat. However, Mazzoni stifled the threat with a strikeout of Ryan Abrahamson and a fielders choice groundout from Tyler Wampler.
Brainerd then went out quietly in the eight and ninth inning with just one hit as their second half record dropped to 10-17.
As Brainerd looks to the last thirteen games of the season, they still have something to play for. They still have faint hopes of making the playoffs, but with an overall record of 30-27, the Lunkers can still finish with their best record in the history of the franchise.
“It’s a motivation to finish with 35 or 36 wins which would be the best record in the three years that I have been here,” said Levendoski. “We have an opportunity with 13 games left. I tell the guys to continue to work hard and don’t count ourselves out of things.”
Mankato 210 000 000 — 3 5 0
Brainerd 000 000 000 — 0 5 2
Mankato: Jordan Remer, Matt Mazzoni (6), Mike Rivera (9), and Mason Randolph
Brainerd: Steven Brault, Joe Harvey (6), and Jon Crist
W: Remer. L: Brault, Sv: Rivera
RBIs: Chris Ross (M), Nick Judkins (M)
DP: M 2, Brd 0
LOB: M 9, Brd 8