The Brainerd Warriors baseball team should consider starting every game in the bottom of the seventh or later.
For the third time in four games, Brainerd won in its final at bat, this time 3-2 in 10 innings over the Fergus Falls Otters in the third round of the North Subsection 8, Class 3A tournament Monday at Adamson Field.
With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Brainerd's J.P. Platisha was hit by a pitch, forcing in the game-winning run and putting the second-seeded Warriors in the winners' bracket noon Wednesday at No. 1 Alexandria.
Brainerd 3, Fergus Falls 2 (10 inn.)
Alexandria 11, Detroit Lakes 4
Moorhead 9, Bemidji 6
Wednesday's Games At Alexandria
No. 2 Brainerd vs. No. 1 Alexandria, noon
No. 3 Fergus Falls vs. No. 6 Moorhead, 2:30 p.m.
Brainerd/Alexandria loser vs. Fergus Falls/Moorhead winner, 5 p.m.
Saturday, June 1
At site of highest remaining seed
Sartell 6, Tech 0
Sauk Rapids 9, Apollo 4
Rocori 7, Monticello 5
Putz Field, St. Cloud
No. 7 Sartell vs. No. 3 Monticello, 2 p.m.
No. 1 Sauk Rapids vs. No. 2 Rocori, 4:30 p.m.
Sartell/Monticello winner vs. Sauk Rapids/Rocori loser, 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 1
Putz Field, St. Cloud
1 p.m. if necessary
"The squeeze wasn't on," Platisha said. "It was a 1-2 count. I got a curveball inside. It stayed there and it hit me."
A single by winning pitcher Joey Tautges, who was 2-for-5 with a solo home run in the third, a double by Chris Klabo, who was 2-for-4 with two doubles, and an intentional walk to Chad Weiss loaded the bases for Platisha.
Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy considered sending Tautges home on Klabo's double to the fence in left-center.
"If there had been two outs at that point I would have sent him in because I think he had a chance," Scearcy said. "But with only one out, we had our fifth and sixth hitters coming to bat. I felt like one of those two guys (Chad Weiss and Platisha) would hit a fly ball for us. I felt pretty good about our chances without gambling with Joey.
"And, I didn't want to squeeze with their infielders standing about 50 feet from us. Too many things can go wrong on a squeeze."
Several things went wrong for both teams during the course of the game.
The Otters had a batter called out in the first for stepping outside the box on an attempted bunt. They failed to score in the seventh despite Warrior errors on consecutive ground balls. In the top of the eighth, the potential winning run was thrown out at the plate as Brainerd catcher Tony Parrish retrieved an errant pitch and threw to Tautges who applied the tag at the plate.
For the Warriors, three runners were thrown out at third base, two in sacrifice bunt situations, the other on a fielder's choice.
"It was one of those games where you have a feeling, from the first inning on, that one tiny mistake is going to mean the ballgame," Scearcy said. "I think the kids get that impression too. Maybe it makes them a little bit tight. It was also one of those games we're glad we won."
After Brainerd nabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on Tautges' solo home run to left, the Otters took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, scoring on a squeeze bunt by Mick Hannan and a passed ball.
The Warriors tied it 2-2 in the fifth. Ryan Browning singled to left, was bunted to second and scored when Landon Link's relay throw on a potential double play skipped into the Otters' dugout.
The contest was one of the best-pitched games of the season. Brainerd's Mike Zauhar went 6 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, one earned run and no walks. Tautges struck out three and gave up one hit and no runs the rest of the way.
Otters starter Tyler Gagner was equally efficient. He pitched into the ninth, striking out five, walking three and yielding one earned run.
Fergus Falls 000 200 000 0 -- 2 5 1
Brainerd 001 010 000 1 -- 3 10 3
FF -- Tyler Gagner, Mick Hannan (9) and Josh Haus. Brainerd -- Mike Zauhar, Joey Tautges (7) and Tony Parrish. W -- Tautges. L -- Hannan.
2B -- Chris Klabo (B) 2. HR -- Tautges. SB -- Mike Gaustad (FF), Zauhar. Sac -- Steve Stachowski (FF), Zauhar, Chad Weiss (B), Jason Goerges (B), Fred Weiss (B). RBI -- Hannan, Tautges, J.P. Platisha (B). LOB -- FF 7, B 11. DP -- FF 1. Overall -- B 17-5. Next game -- Brainerd at Alexandria noon Wednesday.
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