The Brainerd Bushwhackers' ride through the National Baseball Congress "Hap" Dumont 14-under World Series ended Wednesday, but not before the Bushwhackers made some waves in the tournament.
The fourth-place finish ties what is believed to be the best showing by a Brainerd team in the various age levels of the tournament.
Two days ago, the Bushwhackers defeated the Wichita, Kan., Cardinals in the second round of the winners' bracket. But the Cardinals exacted some revenge Wednesday as they beat Brainerd 7-2 to eliminate the Bushwhackers and keep their own title hopes alive.
Brainerd defeated the Eagan Wildcats 6-2 earlier in the day to set up the rematch against the Cardinals.
Wichita 7, Brainerd 2
Wichita's Joel Pumphrey held the Bushwhackers to three hits and two runs in 4 1/3 innings to pick up the win.
The first inning was the Bushwhackers' undoing as Wichita roughed up Brainerd starter Matt Siegel for five runs on seven hits, highlighted by Pumphrey's two-run single.
"The way the Cardinals were hitting the ball," said Brainerd coach Mike Lepel, "they were just getting the bloopers to fall in the holes. That's been our downfall all season , the little punch-and-runs."
But, in true Bushwhacker form, they came back to answer in the bottom of the first as Pete Goeman, who reached on a single, sneaked past the Cardinals' catcher as Travis Dixon was caught in a rundown.
Wichita scored in the second and fifth to take a commanding lead as it eyed a matchup with the Carroll, Iowa, North Stars.
Zach Heidman of Brainerd led off second base in the Bushwhackers' 6-2 victory over Eagan in a NBC "Hap" Dumont 14-under World Series game at Mills Field Wednesday.
Brainerd plated another run in the bottom of the fifth when Carl Sneep led off with a walk. With two out, Siegel launched a Pumphrey offering to the left-field wall, scoring Sneep. But Bryan Rose came on and pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to seal the win for Wichita.
"I'm very proud of the boys," said Lepel. "It was very exciting to watch them and to see their faces when they were getting close to the championship game. I was impressed."
Jake Johnson, Goeman, Sneep and Siegel all collected hits for Brainerd.
Ricky Younger and Dustin Phelps were both 3-for-4 with Younger scoring two runs and driving in another while Phelps scored one run and had two RBI.
Brainerd 6, Eagan 2
The Bushwhackers spotted Eagan an early two-run lead but rallied.
With Goeman, who was 2-for-4, at third and Dixon at second, Dan Lepel laced a pitch that Wildcats first baseman Roy Larson couldn't handle, scoring Goeman and Dixon.
As the game entered the bottom of the fourth tied 2-2, Eagan pitcher Jake Salzl walked Zach Heidmann, Siegel and Morgan Impola. Jared Shaw made him pay as he ripped a Salzl offering to left, scoring Heidmann and Siegel for a 4-2 Brainerd lead.
"When Jared was up to bat, that was just a very important hit," Mike Lepel said. "That scored two runs and really kept the team going."
The Bushwhackers added a run in the fifth as Dixon led off with a triple to center with one out. Dan Lepel singled the other way to bring in Dixon, extending Brainerd's lead to 5-2.
"Danny came up and hit a nice ball that scored Dixon," said Mike Lepel. "That gave us a little bit more of a lead. Every run we got we needed."
Dixon, the starting pitcher for Brainerd, gave up only two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking four to earn the complete-game victory.
"When I start Travis I usually let him go all the way," Mike Lepel said. "When he came out after the sixth inning I asked him if he had enough to go and he said he wanted it."
Eagan 110 000 0 -- 2 6 4
Brainerd 200 211 x -- 6 6 0
WP -- Travis Dixon. LP -- Jake Salzl.
Wichita 510 010 0 -- 7 14 0
Brainerd 100 010 0 -- 2 4 0
WP -- Joel Pumphrey. LP -- Matt Siegel.
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