FLENSBURG -- The Brainerd Braves captured the Region 8C amateur baseball championship for the second consecutive year Saturday following a 15-2, 8-inning win over the Fort Ripley Rebels.
Both teams earned their way to the state tournament and were playing to determine the region's No. 1 seed at state.
The Braves advance to the Class C state tournament at Sleepy Eye next weekend at 8 p.m. while Fort Ripley will play at Sleepy Eye at 5:30 p.m.
The Braves were in their usual form Saturday as they banged out 15 hits, six of which were home runs.
Chris Studer ended the game in the eighth inning with a grand slam to put the Braves up by 10 runs. Studer finished 4-for-5 with two runs scored and six RBI.
Left fielder Dan DeChaine connected for the long ball twice and was 2-for-4. Shortstop Mike Bjerkness, a leadoff man with power, was 3-for-5 with a double, home run, three runs scored and three RBI. Center fielder Brad Streiff was 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. Right fielder Adam Browning hit a home run and designated hitter Derek Owen added two hits for the Braves.
"We played what we call 'Gorilla Ball,'" said Braves manager Derek Schmeck. "We hit home runs and score a lot of runs. That's how we have played all year and will hopefully continue that into the state tournament. It's time to play serious baseball and see if we can't win ourselves that state title."
Luke Weiland picked up the win on the mound for the Braves as he limited the Rebels to two runs and five hits in six complete innings. Streiff relieved Weiland in the seventh and struck out three as he held the Rebels scoreless.
Nate Heim was 2-for-3 with a double and RBI for the Rebels. Neil Sather had a double and Adam Hardy and Scott LeBlanc each had hits for Fort Ripley.
Members of the all-region tournament team from the Braves were Bjerkness, second baseman Nic Hanson, DeChaine, Streiff and pitcher Tony Whitlock. Representing Fort Ripley on the team were center fielder Curt Veith and Randall draftee Jason King.
The Braves have drafted Pete Schleper of Avon and the Rebels selected Tony Nelson of Flensburg for the state tournament.
Fort Ripley 000 002 00 -- 2 5 0
Brainerd 040 501 05 -- 15 16 0
FR -- Matt Means, Tim Hoglin (5) and Tim Veith; Brd -- Luke Weiland, Brad Streiff (7) and Chris Studer. WP -- Weiland. LP -- Means. HR -- Braves, Bjerkness, Studer, Streiff, DeChaine 2, Browning. Overall -- Brd 33-5, FR 15-9. Next game -- Brd-next Saturday 8 p.m. at Sleepy Eye, FR-next Saturday 5:30 p.m. at Sleepy Eye.
Rebels 8, Sobieski 0
FLENSBURG -- Fort Ripley earned a trip to the state tournament by shutting out the Sobieski Skis 8-0 on Saturday in a Region 8C elimination game.
Jason King, a draftee from Randall, pitched a complete game for Fort Ripley as he recorded seven strikeouts and walked just one.
The Rebels' Curt Veith was 3-for-4 with three RBI. Tony Veith went 2-for-3, Scott LeBlanc was 2-for-4 with two RBI, Rob Veith was 2-for-5 and Ray Austin homered for Fort Ripley.
Fort Ripley 200 104 010 -- 8 12 0
Sobieski 000 000 000 -- 0 5 3
FR --Jason King and Tim Veith; Sobieski -- Simon Waltman, Brad Czech (6) and Jeff Thoma. WP -- King . LP -- Waltman. HR -- FR-Austin.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.