Adam Hardy pulled double duty Thursday at Adamson Field.
The right-hander pitched the last inning of a suspended game from Wednesday as Brainerd won 10-6 and then he threw all five innings of a second game in a 14-3 rout. Brainerd claimed the best of three Sub-District playoff series.
Hardy picked up a "warm up" inning as the two teams completed the first game of the series, which was suspended at 5-5 in the top of the 10th because of darkness. The Little Falls field does not have lights.
His inning of work was made much easier as his teammates scored five runs in the top of the 10th to push the score to 10-5. The inning seemed to help Hardy as he basically shut down Little Falls in the second game, allowing one earned run, striking out three and forcing batter after batter into easy ground outs.
"I liked the first game because bing, bong, boom, you're out of there," said Hardy, a soon-to-be senior at Brainerd High School. "I was more worried about the second game. I was moving the fast ball inside and outside and the change up came in good late in the game."
Hardy received more help from the offense as Brainerd belted out 13 hits in the four innings of the second game. For the day Brainerd had 18 hits and scored 19 runs in five innings of offense.
And nobody gave Hardy more help than Hardy himself. He finished 1-for-1 as he connected on a home run, was walked and was hit by a pitch. The homer was a towering three-run shot over the left-center field fence which gave Brainerd an 8-0 lead through three innings.
"If you get a quick game going when someone is throwing strikes like I was, everyone starts clicking and gets a lot of ground balls," Hardy said. "And then the bats will start going. It was just a matter of time before we started hitting."
Ty Adams finished the second game 3-for-3 with two runs scored, Tim Siekas was 1-for-2 with two runs and a double, Chris Macy went 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI and Rob Lien was 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBI.
Brainerd coach Brett Streiff said the first game helped his squad.
"They came in focused because in a one inning game you have to be ready to play," said Streiff, whose team is now 23-7 during the summer. "It's like overtime in football but you have to go home for the night and come back."
Jon Czech and Isaac Smieja each finished with two hits for Little Falls, which used three pitchers to try and contain Brainerd hitting.
With the victory Brainerd plays Melrose in the District 6 playoffs at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud. Little Falls will have to qualify for the district tournament by facing the runner-up in the Bemidji sub-district on July 24 with the site to be determined.
"You always got to kick it up a gear (in the playoffs)," Hardy said. "Even in a game like this, you got to get the win."
Said Streiff: "They've been a confident team all year which is a good thing, but then some teams have come up and bit us. We'll be focused in the district when we know all the teams will be good.
"If we pitch well, I like our chances."
Little Falls 002 10 -- 3 8 0
Brainerd 443 3x -- 14 13 1
Little Falls -- Adam Czech, Matt Martin (1), Josh Burghardt (3) and Mike Sobiech; Brainerd -- Adam Hardy and Kyle Berg, Tim Siekas (4). WP -- Hardy. LP -- Czech . HR -- Hardy.
Brainerd 010 000 400 5 -- 10 11 4
Little Falls 040 100 000 1 -- 6 7 1
Brainerd -- Nick Weiland, Matt Means (6), Adam Hardy (10) and Kyle Berg; Little Falls -- Chris Bell, Jon Czech (10) and Sobiech. WP -- Means. LP -- Czech. HR -- Weiland. Overall -- B 23-7. Next game -- Brainerd vs. Melrose, 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud. Little Falls vs. Bemidji sub-district runner-up, TBA July 24.
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