An early hole is difficult to overcome in the pitching-strong Northwoods League.
The Brainerd Mighty Gulls proved that Tuesday afternoon.
A first inning of offensive fireworks provided the Waterloo Bucks with three runs as they hung for a 5-3 Independence Day victory over the Mighty Gulls at Mills Field.
Gulls starting pitcher Gene DeSalme walked the first two batters of the game. A Ryan Brunner double and a passed ball scored the first two runs. After Brunner eventually caught DeSalme off-guard, he stole home for the third run of that inning.
DeSalme found himself in trouble again in the third inning with bases loaded and one out. He was able to get the next two batters to fly out and end the inning. He finished by throwing eight complete innings, allowing five runs on six hits, walking six and striking out four.
He was relieved by Trevor Frederickson who shut down the Bucks in the ninth inning. Frederickson is normally a catcher and outfielder.
"We got back late the night before," Gulls coach Eric Coleman said of his team's trip to Minot, N.D. "No excuses, though, as we need to just get some rest and come back at them (Wednesday). We're swinging the bats better now but we have a few guys injured on our pitching staff. We're looking to get some new guys in and we'll be all right."
The Gulls jumped on board in the bottom of the third as center fielder Casey Tornberg led off with a single and then stole second. Sam Steidl followed with a single to score Tornberg.
Steidl was 2-for-4 and was hitting the ball hard.
"Right now I'm seeing the ball a lot better," said Steidl, an outfielder from the University of Minnesota. "It's coming in like the size of a softball. I see a lot of fastballs hitting in the nine spot and I'm comfortable hitting there."
With the score 5-1 in favor of the Bucks going into the bottom of the eighth, the Gulls were looking to get something started.
Scott Beshears, who had been hitless in the game, came up with a leadoff single. Keith Laski than drew a walk to put runners on first and second. With one out, David Bagley nailed a single that the center fielder misplayed, allowing both runners to score. Bagley tried to advance to third but was thrown out. Joe Urban then flew out to end the inning.
The Bucks lead the Southern Division as they earned their 20th win of the season. The Gulls fall to 15-17 and remain in second place in the Northern Division.
Waterloo 300 000 110 -- 5 5 2
Brainerd 001 000 020 -- 3 8 0
E -- Henry, Belcher. 2B -- Brunner. SB -- Steidl 2, Tornberg. Sac --McCoy. LOB -- Gulls 6, Bucks 9. DP -- Gulls 1.
IP H R ER BB SO
Ungs 9 8 3 2 1 7
DeSalme 8 6 5 3 6 4
Frederickson 1 0 0 0 1 1
WP -- Ungs. PB -- Helland 2. Attendance -- 254 . Overall -- Brd 15-17, W 20-12. Next game -- Waterloo at Brainerd, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.
MINOT, N.D. -- The Mighty Gulls pounded out 15 hits Monday en route to a 12-8 win over Minot.
Brainerd designated hitter David Bagley was 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Luke Appert, Rick Helland, Casey Tornberg and Sam Steidl all recorded two hits for the Gulls.
Brainerd 000 044 220 -- 12 15 1
Minot 012 3000 020 -- 8 14 3
Brainerd -- Mike Osequera, Blake Platisha (4), Mike Hanrahan (7), Al Bomer (9) and Rick Helland; Minot -- Brady Borner, Scott Anderson (6) and Spencer Wyman. WP -- Platisha. LP -- Borner. Attendance -- 246.
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