Dani Bany showed how valuable senior experience can be.
The three-year starting pitcher for the Alexandria Cardinals outdueled Brainerd's young combo of freshman Nikki Anderson and sophomore Karlie Manton for a Central Lakes Conference sweep Tuesday at Adamson Field.
Bany held Brainerd to a combined eight hits and three runs as Alexandria won 8-0 and 11-3 to jump back into the conference race.
"For the most part she's been consistent," said Cardinals head coach Bob Cunniff. "We had another pitcher ready to go if she faltered, but she threw so well the first game we felt, with it being an important two games, that we needed to win both of them so we went with our ace."
Brainerd catcher Della Gramer threw Shenae Morical of the Alexandria Cardinals out at second base Tuesday. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Brainerd has now lost three straight. In each of those losses, the Warriors have committed at least four errors.
"I thought Nikki Anderson pitched fairly well in the first game," said Warriors coach Mike Zauhar. "I think she only gave up five hits, but when you have passed balls and errors, I don't know how much more she can do with that."
"In the second game, I thought Alexandria swung the bat fairly well. We're going to have to re-evaluate and hopefully get back on track."
Bany stuck out seven, walked one and scattered three singles as the senior won the pitching battle against Anderson.
Brainerd's only threat came in the fourth as Stephanie Lambrecht walked and made it to third before Bany struck out Della Gramer to end the inning
Anderson pitched well until the seventh. She struck out seven and allowed just four hits and two runs, one earned, though six innings.
Brainerd drops two to Alex
Scores: 8-0, 11-3
Key: Alexandria's Dani Bany held Brainerd to eight total hits in the two games.
Conf: Brd 9-2, Alex 8-2
Overall: Brd 13-3, Alex 10-4
Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud Apollo 5 p.m. Thursday
In the seventh, things went awry for Anderson and the Warriors.
With two out, Anderson hit Bany with a pitch. That was followed by a walk, a single, a walk, another hit batter and two errors that resulted in six Cardinals runs.
Brainerd finished with four errors and a number of mental mistakes that left Zauhar scratching his head.
"Right now I'm most concerned about our defense," he said. "We just have had a total meltdown the last couple of games. Not only with errors, but mental errors.
"If we can right the ship, we have two weeks left and then we're into tournament play. But we need to find some answers for some gaping holes we have right now."
Courtney Richardson was 3-for-4 with a double, a run and three RBIs and Ally Teclaw went yard as Alexandria tagged Manton for 12 hits.
Teclaw finished 2-4 with two RBIs. Sam Dale went 2-3 with a walk, three runs and two RBIs and Kate Gearman went 2-3 with a double, two runs and two RBIs.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first, Brainerd tied it in the second. Jenni Smolke doubled and Della Gramer reached on an error. Carlie Sweet loaded the bases with a walk for Jayda Frazer, who knocked out a two-run single.
In the fourth, Gramer hit a lead-off single and pinch-runner Dani Thiesse scored on a wild pitch for Brainerd's three runs.
Brainerd's Ashley Tibbitts fielded a ground ball Tuesday against Alexandria. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Alexandria 010 001 6 - 8 5 0
Brainerd 000 000 0 - 0 3 4
Alexandria: Dani Bany and Shenae Morical. Brainerd: Nikki Anderson and Della Gramer
WP: Bany. LP: Anderson.
SB: Alex-Gracie Bruzek. RBIs: Alex-Kate Gearman, Courtney Richardson, Alicia Montbriand. LOB: Brd 3, Alex 5
Brainerd 020 100 0 - 3 5 4
Alexandria 202 313 x - 11 12 2
Brainerd: Karlie Manton and Gramer. Alexandria: Bany and Morical
WP: Bany. LP: Manton.
2B: Brd-Jenni Smolke; Alex-Kate Gearman, Courtney Richardson. HR: Alex-Ally Teclaw. SB: Brd-Dani Thiesse. S: Alex-Gearman, Morical. RBIs: Brd-Jayda Frazer; Alex-Gearman (2), Dale (2), Richardson (3), Teclaw (2). LOB: Brd 6, Alex 8
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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