Cold temperatures nor a trio of Moorhead Spuds pitchers, could cool down the Brainerd Warriors bats during Tuesday's season-opening doubleheader at Adamson Field.
Brainerd rattled off 24 hits and put the ball in play numerous other times, forcing Spud defenders to make plays. More times than not the Spuds didn't, leading to Brainerd's 11-1 and 15-2 sweep.
Warriors win two
Key: Brainerd pitchers allowed just three runs, while the hitters knocked out 24 hits
Overall: Brd 2-0, M 0-2
Next: Brainerd at Alexandria 5 p.m. Tuesday
Kylee Kunde finished the day 5-for-6 with four runs and an RBI in the No. 9 spot of the Warriors' lineup. Ashley Tibbitts rapped two triples and finished 3-5 with three runs, a walk and an RBI. Carlie Sweet added to the hit parade, going 3-5 with three runs, a walk and an RBI. Brainerd knocked out six triples in the two games.
"The people that got them deserved them," said Kunde. "They're really big hitters and good hitters.
"We were just waiting for the ball to get to us and when it did we were swinging away."
The 26 runs were more than enough for Brainerd's pitching trinity. Nikki Anderson won the first game, striking out 12. She allowed one hit and one unearned run. Karlie Manton captured Game Two. She struck out three, walked one and allowed three hits and no runs. Chelsie Manton relieved her sister and went two innings. She allowed two runs on three hits and stuck out one.
A passed ball on a third strike, followed by an error, resulted in Moorhead's lone run in the first inning.
After that, Anderson shut down the Spuds' bats, striking out all but two batters she faced. Those two batters came up in the third inning. A walk, followed by a single, put both runners on base. Anderson then fell behind 3-0 to the next batter before throwing three straight strikes.
"Our pitchers, if we didn't have them, they are everything to us," said Kunde. "We appreciate what they do for us. They're great."
Tibbitts got things started with her first triple and scored on a wild pitch.
Brainerd erupted for seven runs in the second inning. Della Gramer started the onslaught as she reached on a fielder's choice. Two Spud errors, a Kunde single, another Tibbitts triple, a Jenni Smolke walk and a Zoe Houle triple followed.
Sweet led off the third with a single and scored on Kunde's single.
Kunde led off the fifth with a single followed by a Hallsey Olson single. Those two scored to end the game.
"We scored runs in a lot of different ways and that's a tribute to coach (Dan) Bzdok," said Warrior head coach Mike Zauhar. "He works constantly with these kids on their hitting and that was nice to see this early in the season to get that type of hitting."
Brainerd jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to a Olson leadoff single and three consecutive triples by Smolke, Houle and Gramer.
Two more runs in the second were followed by a six-run third, in which Brainerd had just two hits.
Gramer finished 3-4 with two RBIs and Smolke went 2-4 with two runs and three RBIs.
"I think we have a great team this year and hopefully we're not going to count our chickens before they hatch, but we're hoping to go pretty far this year," said Kunde.
Moorhead 100 00 - 1 1 4
Brainerd 171 02 - 11 11 1
WP: Nikki Anderson. LP: Maggie Gulsvig. 3B: Brd-Ashley Tibbitts (2), Zoe Houle. SB: Brd-Alyssa Thoennes. HP: Brd-Shalene Cole. RBI: Brd-Hallsey Olson, Cole, Nikki DeChaine, Jenni Smolke, Houle (2), Karlie Manton, Kylee Kunde.
Moorhead 000 11 - 2 6 2
Brainerd 426 03 - 15 13 0
WP: Karlie Manton. LP: Emily Kari. 2B: M-Allexis Tracy. 3B: Brd-Smolke, Della Gramer, Houle; M-Katrina Kotta. HP: Brd-Olson. RBI: Brd-Olson, Cole, Tibbitts, Smolke (3), Houle (2), Gramer (2), Sweet.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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