In Lowell Scearcy's 28 years as the Brainerd High School baseball coach Bemidji is one of the few teams the Warriors have a .500 record against.
Brainerd has won eight of 16 matchups against the Lumberjacks, whom they oppose for the Section 8, Class 3A baseball championship this week.
Game times Wednesday at the Bemidji State University field are 3 and 5:30 p.m. A third game, if necessary, will be played 5 p.m. Thursday at Adamson Field in Brainerd.
The winner advances to the Class 3A state tournament June 15-16 at Siebert Field in Minneapolis and St. Paul Midway Stadium.
Brainerd carries a 20-5 record into the section series while the Lumberjacks are 17-6 after edging Alexandria 2-0 for the North Subsection title.
The Warriors defeated Bemidji 8-2 in the Brainerd Invitational on May 6. Many Lumberjacks regulars missed that game to attend the prom in Bemidji.
Center fielder Tim Siekas likes the Warriors' chances to advance to state.
"I think we can pretty much beat anybody," Siekas said. "I don't see any problems playing with any team in the state right now as long as we keep our heads in it."
Apollo's hopes crushed
With 11 seniors returning from last year's Central Lakes Conference championship and Section 8AA runner-up team, including University of Minnesota recruit Josh Krogman, this was supposed to be the year St. Cloud Apollo went to the state tournament for the first time since 1985.
Brainerd stifled Apollo's aspirations, beating the Eagles two of three times for the subsection title.
"You feel bad for your kids, you feel bad for your coaching staff, you feel bad for everyone involved," Apollo coach Tom Frericks said. "You play athletics for one reason and that's to go out and compete every day.
"When you get down to two great ballclubs battling their (butts) off with a lot at stake someone is going to come up short.
"Unfortunately, some people will consider that these kids failed. Then I'm proud to be a failure. These kids busted their (butts) and did things this school had never seen done in this sport. But there was a very good ballclub on the other side of the field."
Warriors show resiliency
Some teams would react adversely to defeat, especially after losing the first game of a doubleheader for the subsection title.
"We got over it right away," Siekas said of Saturday's 4-3 first-game loss to Apollo. "We knew we had another game coming up right away."
Warriors outfielder Chris Macy said a 4-run third inning in Saturday's second game gave Brainerd a jump start.
"It was tough to get going," Macy said. "Once we got a couple runs right off the bat it was helpful, especially the big inning when we had four."
Scearcy said the Warriors were prepared to bounce back.
"I think the kids took the loss pretty good," he said. "We talked about if we drop a game we've got to get our heads up and get ready to come back and play."
Siekas, Macy on fire at bat
Batting ninth in the order doesn't bother Siekas. In the subsection tournament he was 9-for-14 with six RBI.
"I don't get as many off-speed pitches as other people do and that's fine with me," he said.
Macy was 10-for-19 in five subsection games.
"I swung at some bad pitches up there," Macy said of Saturday's at bats. "It seems like I had two strikes on me quite a bit."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.