The Brainerd VFW team lost the lead to Cold Spring, took the lead, lost it again and tied it by the fifth inning.
The two teams then locked up for six innings of shutout baseball before the Springers' Nick Schneider singled in Scott Theis from second in the bottom of the 12th inning to end the three and a half hour game.
"When you go five extra innings, it boils down to just a little play, their leadoff guy got on by a little play," said Brainerd assistant coach Tim Martin.
The little play in question was an error by second baseman Robbie Veith. Veith bobbled it, the ball landed between his legs and he threw it to first but Theis was called safe on the questionable call.
Theis advanced into scoring position on a Nick Anderson wild pitch before being plated by Schneider. Schneider led the Springers offense, finishing 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs.
"Both teams left runners on and it boiled down to, 'Who was going to get the hit?' and they did," Martin said.
After falling behind 2-0 in the third inning, Brainerd pounded Cold Spring starter Scott Schroeder for six runs on four hits in the fourth inning. Cold Spring didn't help their cause, surrendering three unearned runs on three errors.
Cody Stange drove in a run on his first of four hits in the fourth. Stange finished 4-for-6 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs in the longest game he ever played in.
"It was a good experience, I was in a little slump at first but Tim (Martin) told me to straighten out my feet more and it's been helping," said the first baseman, who admits he was "a little tired."
Cold Spring roared back with six runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-6 lead.
Nate Smolke doubled in Travis Whirley and Stange plated Smolke with three consecutive hits in the Brainerd fifth inning to tie the game 8-8, where it would remain for the next seven innings.
Smolke finished 2-6 with a run and an RBI. Anderson was 2-4 with a double, stolen base, run scored and an RBI. Brandon Shaw was 2-6 with a stolen base, run scored and an RBI.
Nick Anderson pitched 5 2-3 innings of solid relief before taking the loss. Anderson entered with two outs in the seventh inning and proceeded to strike out seven while giving up only three hits.
Brainerd must now win three games, including a rematch with Cold Spring, in order to qualify for the state tournament.
"This game wasn't decided in the 12th, it was decided throughout the game," said Martin. "There were plays made and not made during the game. When it's tight like that you can't isolate and blame one thing.
"It's just one of those games you're going to remember for a long time, especially coming out on the short end."
St. Cloud West 1 3 2
Brainerd 7 10 2
WP-Dan Bendzick. 2B-Brd-Nick Anderson, Travis Whirley.
Brainerd 000 620 000 000 - 8 13 2
Cold Spring 002 600 000 001 - 9 13 4
WP-Scott Theis. LP-Nick Anderson. 2B-Brd-Nate Smolke, Cody Stange, Anderson; CS-Nick Schneider, Dustin Schlangen. RBI-Brd-Smolke, Stange 2, Brandon Shaw, Anderson; CS-Schneider 3, Adam Backes, Cole Schmitz 2, Steve Moeller 2. Overall-Brd 27-10. Next-Brd hosts Little Falls 10 a.m. Tuesday.
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