MINNEAPOLIS -- Following a disheartening quarterfinal loss to Cretin-Derham Hall, the Brainerd Warriors needed a lift.
Right-hander Aaron Jenkins boosted the Warriors' spirits by pitching a five-hit, 3-0 victory over the second-ranked Minnetonka Skippers in the consolation semifinals of the Class 3A state baseball tournament Thursday at Siebert Field.
Third-ranked Brainerd (27-4) was to play Elk River at noon today for fifth place at Midway Stadium in St. Paul.
"Hopefully we come out and play like it was the state championship," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. "It will be our state championship. We'll see if we can't come home with a trophy."
Class 3A scoreboard
St. Paul Midway Stadium
Rochester Century 13, Mankato West 8
Cretin-Derham Hall 8, Brainerd 6
Rochester 10, Park Center 6
Cretin-Derham Hall 2, Park Center 1
Siebert Field, Minneapolis
Champlin Park 6, Elk River 0
Park Center 2, Minnetonka 1 (10 inn.)
Elk River 10, Mankato 9
Brainerd 3, Minnetonka 0
St. Paul Midway Stadium
Fifth place, Brainerd vs. Elk River, noon
Third place, Champlin Park vs. Park Center, 2:30 p.m.
Championship, Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Rochester, 6 p.m.
Jenkins enabled Brainerd to keep its hopes for hardware alive by firing a complete game. The senior right-hander pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning. He did not permit another Minnetonka runner to advance beyond first base after the third.
"It was probably the biggest win I've ever had as a pitcher," Jenkins said. "I really wasn't feeling much pressure, as much as if it was the first game. I got to see how the pitchers in the first game threw."
In addition to being the favorite to win the state title, Minnetonka was runner-up in the American Legion World Series last summer. It has four Division I scholarship players, all four of whom will play in the Lions All-Star Series, in its lineup.
"(Assistant coach) Joel Lofstrom had scouted them earlier and he had it right down to a science on every guy," Scearcy said. "Aaron was able to put the ball pretty much where we wanted it, and (Lofstrom's scouting report) proved out correct.
"I think Minnetonka came into the tournament as probably the top-heavy favorite, a team that had been scoring 10-15 runs a game. Aaron did a good job, we played a little better defense than we have been and we live to fight another day."
Tony Parrish put Brainerd ahead when he flared a two-run single to left in the fourth. Minnetonka starter Luke Ludvigson wild pitched in the final Brainerd run in the fifth.
Blake Eller was 3-for-3 for the Warriors.
Minnetonka 000 000 0 -- 0 5 0
Brainerd 000 210 x -- 3 7 1
Minn-Luke Ludvigson, Eric Utoft (6) and Paul McKenzie. Brd-Aaron Jenkins and Morgan Shepherd. W-Jenkins (5-2). L-Ludvigson.
2B-B-Drew Boland, Fred Weiss. Sac-B-Jenkins, Chad Weiss. RBI-B-Tony Parrish 2. LOB-M 9, B 5. DP-1.
Record-B 27-4. Next game-Brainerd vs. Elk River, noon Friday, 3A consolation championship, Midway Stadium, St. Paul.
Cretin-DH 8, Warriors 6
Five of the Raiders' runs were unearned as Brainerd committed four errors at Midway Stadium. A four-run second spurred the Raiders.
Charlie Soukup tossed a complete game for C-DH. The senior left-hander allowed nine hits but only two earned runs. He struck out 11 and walked none.
"I think we let some outside factors get to us a little bit," Scearcy said, "and we lost our composure through the second and third innings before we kind of got it back again. It cost us. Walks and errors always cost you, it seems like.
"We did battle back, and we battled back against a pretty good pitcher. I thought nine hits and six runs against a pretty good pitcher ... I don't know that he's given that much up in any game this year."
Brainerd's Chris Klabo was 3-for-4 with two RBI doubles. Chad Weiss was 2-for-4 with a two-run single in the second.
The Warriors had the tying run at the plate with two out in the bottom of the seventh when Soukup struck out Jenkins to end the contest. The strikeout followed a nifty back-handed catch in center field by Mike Osborne on a long drive by Eller.
Senior right-hander Kevin Mertens made his first pitching appearance for the Warriors since May 10. He gave up no earned runs in two innings, struck out two, walked three and gave up no hits.
"We weren't really sure how long he could go," Scearcy said. "It looks like maybe two innings was a little too far right now. The first inning he looked pretty good, the second inning he started to look a little tired.
"Kevin has had his hand in a cast. He hasn't thrown for a month, so all in all, I thought he did a pretty good job to hang in there as well as he did."
Cretin-Derham Hall 141 100 1 -- 8 11 2
Brainerd 030 020 1 -- 6 9 4
CDH-Charlie Soukup and Chuck Miesbauer. Brd-Chad Weiss, Justin Huether (4), Kevin Mertens (6) and Morgan Shepherd. W-Soukup (10-1). L-Chad Weiss (7-2).
2B-CDH-Matt Cadwell; B-Drew Boland, Chris Klabo 2. SB-CDH-Mark Boland 3, Nick Biagini, Mike Rubi. Sac-CDH-Soukup, Rubi; RBI-CDH-Mark Boland, Mike Osborne, Luke Salscheider, Biagini, Rubi; B-Chad Weiss 2, Klabo 2. LOB-CDH-9, B-5. DP-B-1.
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