Bob Brown has his opportunity and he's not going to let it pass him by.
After having to sit most of the high school season behind all-state catcher Kyle Berg, the soon-to-be senior catcher is having a top-notch summer for the Brainerd Legion team.
Brown again swung the bat well Tuesday as he had three hits in six at bats to lead Brainerd over Park Rapids 15-2 and 10-5 at Adamson Field.
"I'm seeing the ball good," Brown said. "I didn't get to play much behind Berg. I'm just trying to get in as many cuts as I can. We want to try to go to state. We're going to be a good team next year."
Brown has consistently been recording two hits a game for the 8-3 Brainerd team. Tuesday he had a two-run single in the first game and a leadoff double and a two-run home run in the second game.
"(Brown) was a man without a position," Legion coach Brett Streiff said. "He's always been a good hitter; he led the VFW in hitting. He's been catching his whole life and Berg was just a far more superior defensive catcher. I put him in left field Tuesday because he's been swinging a hot stick and we didn't have enough guys.
"He's got a good swing and he's a big strong kid. With the bats they have today the ball just jumps off his bat.
"That's what the Legion is all about. Basically it's for the juniors to get a lot of at bats. It's basically a feeder program for the varsity. Kids don't realize that's what it's about. They might not get to play as much but they have to keep working hard and not let it affect their confidence."
Brown, who had only 10 at bats for the 2000 Warriors, clearly hasn't let sitting in the dugout bother his confidence. Playing in left field for the first time in his life, Brown stepped up in the fourth inning and took a first-pitch offering to straight-away center field for a two-run home run that gave Brainerd a 5-2 lead.
"I was looking for a fastball on the first pitch," Brown said. "I struck out the first time and didn't have my timing down. I knew it was going to be a fast ball. That's usually the best pitch because the pitchers are always trying to get ahead of you."
In the first game, the wind was blowing out to left field and Brainerd took advantage. It hit three home runs -- Berg, Rob Lien and Nick Weiland -- and smashed three more shots off the fence.
Ty Adams finished the first-game romp by going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI; Berg was 2-for-2 with three runs scored; Weiland was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, a double, a walk, a sacrifice fly and four RBI, and Billy Tadych had a two-run single in the second. Kevin Ericson earned the win, giving up two runs, five hits and one walk while striking out five.
In the second game, Brainerd spread out seven hits among six players.
Brainerd was also helped a little by Park Rapids pitching. Park Rapids hurlers walked 10 batters and eight batters in the first and second games.
Park Rapids 000 20 -- 2 5 0
Brainerd 590 1x -- 15 12 0
Park Rapids -- Carroll, Emblom (2), Luther (2) and Dent; Brainerd -- Kevin Ericson and Kyle Berg. WP -- Ericson (2-0). LP -- Carroll. HR -- Berg (B), Rob Lien (B), Nick Weiland (B), Luther (PR).
Park Rapids 001 130 0 -- 5 5 1
Brainerd 201 511 x -- 10 7 2
Park Rapids -- Burkman, Thompson (4), Ebberhart (6) and Dent; Brainerd -- Curt Caughey, Weiland (5) and Berg. WP -- Caughey. LP -- Burkman. HR -- Bob Brown (B), Emblom (PR), Haroldson (PR). Overall -- B 8-3. Next game -- Brainerd at Bemidji, 5 p.m. today.
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