With 10 games in 10 days pitching will be paramount for the Brainerd Warriors baseball team.
The Warriors' rugged stretch began Thursday with a 9-3 Central Lakes Conference victory over the St. Cloud Tech Tigers at Adamson Field.
Right-handers Adian Kummet and Jake Chisholm combined to hold the Tigers down. Kummet went 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and one walk, struck out one and gave up two earned runs. Chisholm finished, allowing one hit and two walks, struck out one and permitted one earned run.
"We would have liked to get Adian out a little bit earlier so he could come back early next week," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. "We hope we didn't burn him out. I guess in a couple days we'll know that.
"We know Jake's going to come in and throw the ball across the plate, and consequently we've got to play defense. We know that's going to get to be an old theme this year but we've just got to keep talking about it, talking about situations, and practicing them, just kind of playing baseball, knowing what's going on out there."
At bat, the Warriors appeared to know what was going on. They rapped nine hits and hit behind baserunners in two situations, scoring three runs.
"We work an awful lot on hitting to the opposite field, but we certainly can't claim every time it happened it was on purpose," Scearcy said. "But we do work on it. Hopefully, that practice will show up in certain situations."
Anthony Hennen showed up ready to hit. The Brainerd junior went 2-for-4, including a two-run double in the first that tied the game, scored two runs, stole two bases and finished with three RBI.
Brainerd struggled through four innings against the off-speed deliveries of right-hander Jeremy Lechner. Virtually every pitch was a breaking ball, and from a different arm angle, while Lechner nibbled at the corners.
"It was weird," Hennen said of Lechner's delivery. "The ball spins, almost like a curveball, and it will tail. It was a lot slower than what we're used to. It's just weird, coming from down low."
The Warriors broke up a 2-2 tie with a six-run fifth, which included three Tech errors that let in two unearned runs. Brainerd runs scored on Hennen's scorched grounder off the shortstop, Nate Maaske's single, Kyle Holbrook's sacrifice fly, Nate Weber's double and Morgan Shepherd's fielder's choice.
BHS 9, Tech 3
The keys: Brainerd received solid pitching.
Next: Brainerd vs. Princeton at Princeton tournament 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Hennen scored Brainerd's final run in the sixth, He led off with a double, advanced on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Shepherd and Blake Eller each had two hits for Brainerd, which improved to 4-1 overall.
Tech's Peter Klaverkamp doubled off Eller's glove in center field in the top of the first to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
St. Cloud Tech 200 000 1 -- 3 6 3
Brainerd 200 061 x -- 9 9 1
Tech-Jeremy Lechner, Mike Kostreba (5), Jeremy Wienke (5), Derek Albers (6) and Matt Merten. Brd-Adian Kummet, Jake Chisholm (6) and Kyle Holbrook. W-Kummet. L-Lechner.
2B-SCT-Peter Klaverkamp, Derek Albers; B-Nate Weber, Anthony Hennen. SB-B-Hennen 2, Morgan Shepherd. Sac-SCT-Wienke; B-Holbrook. RBI-SCT-Klaverkamp 2, Ryan Young; B-Hennen 3, Shepherd, Nate Maaske, Holbrook, Weber. LOB-SCT 7, B 9. DP-SCT 1.
Conference-SCT 1-4, B 4-1. Overall-SCT 1-5, B 4-1. Next game-Brainerd vs. Princeton at Princeton tournament, 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Mike Bialka can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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