BAXTER -- Brainerd Warrior boys' soccer player Jesse Bates has turned himself into a household name with the rest of the Central Lakes Conference and Section 8, Class 3A teams.
In the last eight games, Bates has scored 10 goals, leading the Warriors to five wins in that span.
On Thursday at Southdale Field, Bates registered his first hat trick of the season in a 6-3 loss to the St. Cloud Tech Tigers.
"We got drilled down at Tech earlier in the season," said Devine. "That was a fun first half and it was good soccer. The second half our confidence was like crystal glass and it shattered pretty quickly with a goal against us. Tech is a very skilled team and they know how to put a team away."
Tech's Matt Zitlow opened the scoring with one of the fastest goals in Brainerd soccer history, just seven seconds into the game.
But Brainerd answered shortly after as Bates took advantage of a penalty kick to tie the game at the nine-minute mark.
Ryan Beduhn put Tech back on top 2-1 just 1:15 later. But Bates and the Warriors answered again to tie the game with a powerful shot from the top of the goal box.
"I had the goalie thinking I was going left on the penalty kick," said Bates. "The second goal was just well struck. My third one kind of reflected and went in.
"It was good to get the hat trick. I've pulled off a few two-goal games but I would rather have gotten the 'W'."
Bates' play has started opening the eyes of opposing teams. Devine expects opponents to designate Bates as the player they need to shut down.
"We had some lack of scoring in the first half of the season so teams weren't eyeing Jesse too much," said Devine. "Anyone that we play now in sections will be skilled to watch No. 24.
"Jesse's been a workhorse for us all season. Our offense goes through Jesse. As he clicks so does our offense."
Devine and his players knew the game should have been closer than what the scoreboard showed. But, because of defensive miscues, the Tigers pounced on the opportunities.
"We scored three goals against one of the top seeds in our section," Devine said. "Four of the six goals that Tech scored were blatant mistakes by our defense. Those are the kind of things that I expected two months ago but not now. The fellas know they didn't communicate and let balls roll by."
St. Cloud Tech 2 4 -- 6
Brainerd 2 1 -- 3
First half -- SCT, Matt Zitlow (Ryan Beduhn) :07; B, Jesse Bates (penalty kick) 9:00; SCT, Beduhn (Zitlow) 10:15; 4, B, Bates (Matt Steiger) 22:05;
Second half -- SCT, Zitlow (Kyle Hoffman) 26:19; SCT, Zitlow (Beduhn) 59:54; SCT, Jaabah Karbedeh (Matt VanVleet) 63:29; SCT, Mike Oster (unassisted) 64:11; B, Bates (Morgan Impola) 68:22;
Shots on goal -- B 3-1-- 4 SCT 5-7 -- 12
Goaltenders -- B-Josiah Collins (6 saves), SCT-Kyle Dietman (1 save)
Conference -- B 5-6, SCT 9-2. Overall -- B 7-7, SCT 11-6. Next game -- B hosts Bemidji 11 a.m. Saturday.
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