COLD SPRING Following a 10-run victory in the opening round of the Division I American Legion state baseball tournament the Brainerd Bluegills suffered a severe case of the blues in Thursday's second game.
In a 10-4 loss to the second-ranked Woodbury Blue in their second game, the Bluegills committed five errors that led to six unearned runs and had three runners picked off base.
"We had five errors on the scoreboard but we committed more errors than were on the scoreboard," Brainerd coach Mark Germain said. "We were here physically. We put up 12 hits, but mentally we weren't as sharp as we need to be. ... We were probably 8-0 in the last stretch and played good baseball but (Thursday night) we just showed up and the wheels came off the cart."
Woodbury Blue 10, Bluegills 4
The key: Brainerd committed five errors that led to six unearned runs and had three runners picked off base.
Record: Brainerd 30-4
Next: Brainerd vs. Duluth Lakeview 10 a.m. Friday at Putz Field, St. Cloud
The loss dropped Brainerd (30-4) into the losers' bracket with an uphill battle to play for the title. Brainerd must win five games in the next two days to reach Sunday's 2 p.m. championship game.
"Last year we lost our first game in the losers' bracket, we came back through ... and ended up third so we can do it," Germain said. "It's just that now the road is a different path."
Woodbury was led by Mark Helsper, who went 5-for-5 with a double, four singles and three RBI. He had an RBI single in the fifth and a two-run double in the eighth.
Sixth-ranked Brainerd was paced by catcher Kyle Holbrook, who was 3-5 with an RBI single in the first. Justin Huether, Mike Germain and Scott Williams each had two hits for the Bluegills.
Brainerd opened the scoring in the bottom of the first as Holbrook and Mike Germain crunched RBI singles.
Woodbury scored its first run in the second. After Bryan Kloetzke doubled into the left-field corner Woodbury eventually loaded the bases. Kirk Ingram then hit a soft ground ball back to Eller who mishandled it and threw it over Holbrook's head at the plate to score Kloetzke.
Brainerd surged ahead 3-1 in the third. Holbrook doubled off the base of the center field fence, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Zach Heidmann's sacrifice fly.
Woodbury inched ahead 4-3 in the fifth with three unearned runs. In the sixth it scored its first earned run for a 5-3 edge. With one out, Storm Gram tripled to right-center and scored on Sean Wilson's perfectly placed bunt.
Tony Hennen's sacrifice fly in the sixth scored Williams with Brainerd's final run.
Woodbury scored two unearned runs in the seventh for a 7-4 lead and added three runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Steve McKeown and a two-run double by Helsper.
Brainerd 12, Coon Rapids 2
Blake Eller went 5-for-5 and Adian Kummet pitched a complete game as the Bluegills dismantled sixth-ranked Coon Rapids in seven innings.
Eller had three singles, a double and triple with two RBI.
Kummet struck out nine, walked three and gave up two hits. The only damaging Coon Rapids hit was a two-run homer by Kevin Johnson in the fifth.
Brainerd's Brady Prince was 2-2 with two walks and two RBI Mike Germain was 3-4 with three RBI.
Coon Rapids 000 020 0 -- 2 2 2
Brainerd 320 016 x -- 12 13 1
WP-Adian Kummet. LP-Nick Le.
Woodbury Blue 010 031 230 -- 10 12 3
Brainerd 201 001 000 -- 4 12 5
Woodbury-Steve McKeown, Kirk Ingram (4), Mark Helsper (7) and Bryan Kloetzke, Sean Wilson (3). Brainerd-Blake Eller, Jake Johnson (8), Mike Germain (9) and Kyle Holbrook. W-Ingram. L-Eller. Save-Helsper.
2B-W, Kloetzke, Helsper; Brd, Blake Eller, Holbrook, Tony Hennen, Justin Huether. 3B-W, Storm Gram. SB-W, Gram, Tyler Kipke 2, Wilson, Helsper, Matt Saunders. Sac-Brd, Zach Heidmann, Hennen. RBI-W, Mark Helsper 3, Wilson, Kloetzke; Brd, Holbrook, Mike Germain, Heidmann, Hennen. LOB-W 11, Brd 9. DP-Brd 2.
MIKE BIALKA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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