Adian Kummet started the Northwoods League season as the Duluth Huskies' closer.
The Brainerd High School graduate entered Monday's game against the Brainerd Blue Thunder with a 0-1 record, 2.08 ERA and two saves in 4 1/3 innings. That was before soreness in his right arm shelved him for about three weeks.
Kummet returned to the mound Monday as Duluth held off Brainerd for a 4-3 victory on Red, White and Blue Thunder night, honoring active and veteran members of the armed forces, at Mills Field.
The 6-foot-4, 200 pound right-hander's first inning went smoothly, retiring the side in order in the seventh. He retired the first two Blue Thunder hitters in the eighth before allowing a David Wilson single, walking Andy Dirks and hitting Ben Orloff to load the bases.
Blue Thunder pitcher Dustin Renfrow threw against the Duluth Huskies Monday night at Mills Field. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Left-hander Brant Combs rescued Kummet, retiring the side on a fielder's choice. Combs shut down Brainerd in the ninth to earn a save.
"The second inning I got the first two outs, hung a curveball and he hit it up the middle," Kummet said as family and friends waited to greet him. "I threw four straight balls and had a hit batsman. Things can turn around pretty quick, from pretty high to pretty low. Brant Combs came in and got me out of it."
Kummet also pitched against the Blue Thunder last season and played amateur baseball for the Brainerd Bees at Mills Field.
"It's great putting the uniform on here," he said. "(Fellow BHS grad and Blue Thunder player) Mike Germain was in the other dugout, hassling me, but it was good. My family gets to see this so it's always nice coming back."
Duluth started its comeback in the sixth, rallying from a 3-1 deficit on Chase Austin's RBI double and Logan Gelbrich's two-run double.
BHS grad Adian Kummet made a relief appearance for Duluth
Brainerd right-hander Dustin Renfrow cruised into the sixth with a two-run lead. Before the sixth he allowed one earned run and six hits, struck out three and walked one.
"I will probably take the loss for this one," Brainerd manager Jason Huskey said. "I probably let Dustin go back out when we got five solid innings out of him. We have a bullpen that's able to hold teams down so I've got to not let them hang their heads tonight because I think it's because of a mistake I made.
"I have to be aware of, and know, what the capabilities of our starting pitchers are. If we can get five solid innings out of a guy that's what we have a bullpen for. Our offense gave us a chance. Our bullpen did too so if there was a loss column for me it would be in mine, and I've got to let them know that."
Center fielder Andy Dirks led Brainerd, going 3-for-3 and reaching base in all five at bats. Right fielder David Wilson was 2-for-4.
The Blue Thunder stranded 12 baserunners, eight in scoring position. They left the bases loaded twice on their way to their fourth straight loss.
Duluth 4, Blue Thunder 3
The key: The Huskies scored three runs in the sixth to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
Overall: Brd 11-20, Dul 19-12
Next: Brainerd at Duluth 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.
"We had two opportunities with the bases loaded and less than two outs that we didn't execute in," Huskey said, "but they went out and battled after a 14-hour bus ride (from Battle Creek, Mich.) What I saw tonight was something I haven't seen in a while, despite the outcome. There were a lot of positives that I saw with the energy. Everybody was in it from the first pitch until the end."
Xavier Scruggs' run-scoring single tied the game 1-1 in the Brainerd fifth. Patrick Rose followed with a two-run single to put the Blue Thunder ahead 3-1.
The Huskies had 12 hits, including five doubles, two apiece by Chris House and Gelbrich.
Blue Thunder notes
Making their debuts were Orloff, a shortstop from Cal-Irvine, and catcher Matt LaGree of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
Outfielder Erik Komatsu of Oxnard (Calif.) Community College leaves Tuesday to undergo season-ending wrist surgery. He played in 11 games, hitting .179 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBIs.
Duluth 001 003 000 - 4 12 2
Brainerd 000 030 000 - 3 9 0
Duluth: Kyle Blair, Mike Nihsen (5), Adian Kummet (7), Brant Combs (8) and Logan Gelbrich. Brd: Dustin Renfrow, Brandon Roberts (6), Tyler Brandon (8), Bryan Westphal (9) and Matt LaGree. W: Nihsen (3-2). L: Renfrow (1-4). Sv: Combs (2).
2B: Dul-Gelbrich 2, Chris House 2, Chase Austin. SB: Dul-Joe Bonadonna, Ryan Jones; Brd-Andy Dirks, Adam Symons. SH: Dul-Bonadonna, Chris House, Robby Price; Brd-Ben Orloff 2, Jared McDonald. SF: Kevin Hansen. RBI: Dul-Hansen, Austin, Gelbrich 2; Brd-Xavier Scruggs, Patrick Rose 2. LOB: Dul 9, Brd 12. DP: Dul 1, Brd 1. T: 2:37.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com and at 855-5861.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.