The Brainerd Lunkers split a doubleheader against the Rochester Honkers, losing Game One 5-2 and winning Game Two 6-3 in Northwoods League North Division play Monday night at Mills Field.
The Honkers flew into the second inning of the first game, down one, and put up three of their five runs to take the lead early off the bats of two Honker singles and a double, a couple of walks from Brainerd starter Kye Winter and an error made at short by Tyler Wampler.
Rochester followed up the in third with one more run and that's all it needed, staying out in front and outhitting Brainerd 9-5.
Designated hitter Nate Hamilton, who started the night with a .298 average, the highest on the team, had two of the Lunkers’ five hits going 2-3 with a double while scoring once.
Winter took the loss, pitching all seven innings for Brainerd, giving up all five runs, three of which were earned, while striking out six, walking two and hitting one.
Winter’s counterpart, Nick Dolsky. also pitched a complete game, getting the win while giving up two runs, one of which was earned. Dolsky struck out three and walked none.
“He was a good pitcher, he was a big guy, who threw pretty hard, and had command of his stuff,” said Hamilton. “He was really good, he had it going on tonight.”
Brainerd got on the board early when an error and three chopped ground balls scored Matt Hillsinger. Vince Bruno's two-out chopper to short went into the books as an RBI single when Rochester first baseman Johnny Coy was pulled off the bag from an off the mark throw, giving the Lunkers a shortlived 1-0 lead.
Brainerd scored once more when Hamilton started off the sixth with a ground ball double that bounced over Coy's glove at first and rolled down the right field line. Dan Olinger followed with a hit of his own, a single up the middle, scoring Hamilton. That was the end of the Lunkers, rally, as they picked up one run.
The Honkers answered again, scoring one more in the seventh, sealing a 5-2 victory in Game One for Rochester.
“I think we need to do just whatCcoach Webb talked about, we need to stay patient at the plate, make sure we get good pitches, and work the starting pitchers count up more,” said Hamilton when asked what the key to producing more hits and runs in Game Two would be.
By the end of the third inning in the nightcap Brainerd had more hits, seven total, than they had in the first game with back-to-back-to back singles from Hamilton, Olinger and Bruno followed by a single from Casey Roche and a double from Jon Crist Brainerd. The result was a 5-0 lead.
Rochester scored two in the fourth and one in the fifth with Brainerd adding one in the sixth for a final score of 6-3.
Both Olinger and Crist went 2-3 in Game Two for the Lunkers with Joe Harvey picking up the win, his first as a starter, pitching four innings, giving up three runs on for hits, with three walks, and four strike outs.
The Lunkers will try take the three-game set at home against Rochester Tuesday before they fly south for another three-game series on the Honkers’ home field.
Rochester 031 000 1-5 9 1
Brainerd 100 001 0-2 5 1
Rochester: Nick Dolsky, and Justin Kline
Brainerd: Kye Winter, Chris Webband Wade Wass
W:Dolsky L Winter:
2B: R-Kline, Davy Wright, Johnny Coy; Brd-Nate Hamilton
RBIs: R-Kline, Eric Birch (3), Wright; Brd-Vince Bruno, Dan Olinger
SB: R-Tony Kemp; Brd-Bruno
LOB: R-7, Brd-3
Rochester 000 210 0—3 8 3
Brainerd 005 001 X—6 8 1
Rochester: Ben Heiret,and Jake Page
Brainerd: Joe Harvey, Tyler Harris (5), Chase Webb, and Jon Krist
W:Harvey L:Harris S: Webb
RBIs: R-Ryan Hambright, Devin ThautBrd-Olinger, Bruno (2), Roche, Crist, Ryan Abrahamson
SB: R-Kemp, Wright; Brd-Olinger
LOB: R-7, Brd-4