In the previous nine years of the Brainerd High School baseball invitational, the Warriors had never swept all three opponents in the weekend event and had beaten Rosemount only once in that span.
The Warriors removed two albatrosses over the weekend by sweeping Minneapolis Patrick Henry, Rosemount and Bemidji in the 10th annual event at Adamson Field.
In Saturday's first game the Warriors opened with a 4-0 win over Rosemount, perennially one of the state's top baseball programs. Brainerd closed the 4-team tournament with a 8-2 defeat of Bemidji on Saturday night.
There were many encouraging signs for Brainerd, which improved to 12-2 overall. Many Warriors who had seen limited action in Central Lakes Conference play received extended action. Sophomore pitchers Ben Winterfeldt and Mike Zauhar and junior Jason Chisholm were nearly flawless in their brief varsity debuts.
The Warriors also received some fine pitching from starters Billy Tadych, Eric Bolt and Matt Means. Tadych beat Patrick Henry 11-1 in five innings Friday, Bolt shut out Rosemount and Means went five solid innings against Bemidji.
"We got everybody pretty extended action," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. "We brought up three sophomores because we were not sure how much pitching help we needed. The little bit we were able to use them they did a good job.
"Eric pitched well (Saturday morning). Matt also pitched well. He changed speeds and threw strikes."
Brainerd 4, Rosemount 0
Bolt required only 68 pitches to dispose of Rosemount. He threw 45 for strikes and threw the first pitch for a strike to 18 of 26 Rosemount batters.
"My curveball worked a couple times," Bolt said, "but not like it usually does. I just wanted to throw strikes and let them hit the ball."
Bolt walked one and struck out four in a 5-hit masterpiece. He retired the last seven hitters in order and nine of the last 10. Only two Rosemount runners advanced past first base.
"That really saved on our pitching," Scearcy said of Bolt's complete game. "We still had Adam Hardy in here. Ben Winterfeldt could have thrown a couple innings too so we ended up with pitching left over."
Kyle Berg and Chris Macy had big games at the plate for Brainerd. Berg was 4-for-4 with a solo home run in the fourth. Macy was 3-for-3 with an RBI single in the first. Shortstop Kevin Ericson was 2-for-4 with a run.
Brainerd 8, Bemidji 2
Means fired just 50 pitches in five innings, only 12 were called balls. He threw the first pitch for a strike to 16 of 20 Lumberjacks.
He didn't walk a batter, struck out two and gave up three hits and no earned runs.
"It was decent," Means said of his outing. "I knew I had good defense behind me. I was just up there throwing."
Zauhar struck out two of the four batters he faced. The only blemish on Chisholm's pitching line was a hit batsman.
Ericson led Brainerd against Bemidji left-handers Eddie Johnson and William Naylor by going 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI double in a 4-run third as the Warriors batted around. Macy was 2-for-4 with two runs and Rob Lien was 2-for-3 with a run and RBI single in the fourth.
"I like to see good left-handed pitching," Scearcy said. "(Johnson) had very good stuff. Had he been able to find the plate more it would have been a tense game I'm sure.
"It was good for our left-handed hitters. We haven't seen much in the way of left-handed pitching this year."
Saturday's First Game
Rosemount 000 000 0 --0 5 1
Brainerd 210 100 x --4 13 0
Rosemount --Chad Schmude and Ricky Saintey. Brainerd -- Eric Bolt and Kyle Berg. W -- Bolt. L -- Schmude. HR --B, Berg.
Saturday's Second Game
Bemidji 002 000 0 --2 4 2
Brainerd 304 100 x --8 8 1
Bemidji -- Eddie Johnson, William Naylor (4) and Jason Fairchild. Brainerd -- Matt Means, Mike Zauhar (6), Jason Chisholm (7) and Berg. W -- Means. L -- Johnson. 2B--Ericson. Overall -- B 12-2. Next game -- Brainerd hosts Willmar 5 p.m. Tuesday.
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