After losing its opening game in the North Subdistrict 6 double-elimination tournament the Brainerd VFW team had to win five straight games if it expected to capture the championship.
Top-seeded Brainerd made that challenge appear simple as it beat Menahga 11-4 and Crosby-Ironton and St. Cloud Red by the 10-run rule in losers' bracket games and beat Little Falls 10-1 and 4-0 for the title Thursday at Adamson Field.
Brainerd and Little Falls advance to the District 6 tournament Monday at Cold Spring.
"Tuesday's loss was tough but (the St. Cloud Red) kid pitched a great game," Brainerd co-head coach Tim Martin said. "I probably felt worse than the kids, but still I give our kids a lot of credit. They battled through that and (Wednesday) were very good and today were very good in pretty much all facets of the game so it was a good accomplishment."
Brainerd's Joel Martin connected for an RBI single in the first game against Little Falls in the North Subdistrict 6 VFW tournament Thursday at Adamson Field. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
As it had in Wednesday's games, Brainerd received quality starts from Quinn Impola and Jamey Quick before Brett Jenkins closed both games.
In the first game, Impola went six innings, allowing one earned run and five hits. He struck out four and walked two.
Quick pitched six shutout innings, allowing five hits in Game Two. He struck out two, walked one and was the beneficiary of two double plays.
Jenkins struck out four, walked two and gave up one hit.
"I think the most impressive thing about our pitching was we took a tough loss on Tuesday and both of those runs were unearned," Brainerd co-head coach Keith Peterson said. "In six games we gave up two earned runs. I know we're not striking out a bunch of guys but when you go six games and give up two earned runs you should be winning five of those."
Third-seeded Little Falls entered Thursday in the driver's seat.
"We were out of pitching a little bit and we had some kids who pitched (Wednesday) night," Little Falls coach John Hanowski said. "We were playing with some confidence so it was kind of dangerous coming in here. We played all right the second game."
Brainerd scored four unearned runs to capture the title.
Two unearned runs scored in the second, which included Matt Sather's RBI single.
Quinn Impola pitched six innings to get the win in the first game against Little Falls in the North Subdistrict 6 VFW action. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
In the third an error in left field scored Brainerd's Kevin Peterson for a 3-0 edge.
Taylor Main doubled in the sixth and scored when a pop-up on an infield fly rule was dropped.
Adam Tautges was the only Brainerd player with two hits.
Little Falls 000 000 0 - 0 5 4
Brainerd 021 001 x - 4 4 0
LF: Hunter Hanowski, Brian Majerus (6), Adam Dougherty (6) and Majerus, Joey Hanowski (6).
Brd: Jamey Quick, Brett Jenkins (7) and Reid Mimmack, Bruce London.
W: Quick. L: Hanowski.
2B: Brd-Taylor Main; LF-Adam Dougherty
SB: Brd-Patrick Skogen, Kevin Peterson; LF-Jeremy Primus
RBI: Brd-Matt Sather
LOB: Brd, 5, LF 6
Brainerd 10, LF 1
Brainerd 4, LF 0
The key: Sound pitching by Quinn Impola, Brett Jenkins and Jamey Quick helped Brainerd sweep Little Falls
Overall: Brd 32-7
Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in District 6 tournament Monday at Cold Spring.
DP: Brd 2
Brainerd broke open a 1-1 tie with nine runs in the fifth on five hits, two bases-loaded walks and a hit batsman with the bases jammed.
In the Brainerd fifth, Pat Skogen had an RBI single, Burrell Flanagan a two-run double, Kyle Crocker drove in a run with a fielder's choice and Joel Martin had a run-scoring single.
Skogen finished 3-for-3 with a walk.
Wenzel went 4-for-4 for Little Falls. Mitch Dorn's sacrifice fly in the third scored the only Little Falls run.
Little Falls 001 000 0 - 1 6 0
Brainerd 010 090 x - 10 8 1
LF: Kodi Gosiak, Garrett Grams (5), Adam Dougherty (5) and Brian Majerus, Joey Hanowski.
Brd: Quinn Impola, Brett Jenkins (7) and Craig McCluney.
W: Impola. L: Gosiak.
2B: Brd-Kyle Crocker, Burrell Flanagan; LF-Eddie Wenzel.
SB: Brd-Jaron Hanson, Patrick Skogen.
S: LF-Mac Griffith
SF: LF-Mitch Dorn.
RBI: Brd-Reid Mimmack, Thomas Fairbanks, Crocker, Joel Martin, Taylor Main, Skogen, Flanagan 2; LF-Dorn
LOB: Brd, 10, LF 8
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 855-5861.
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