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High School Baseball: Willmar nudges Warriors in top of 7th inning

Despite committing six errors that led to all the runs they surrendered being unearned, the Willmar Cardinals emerged with a victory.

Willmar secured its 6-5 win over the Brainerd Warriors in a brisk Central Lakes Conference game Tuesday at Adamson Field scoring in the top of the seventh to snap a 5-5 deadlock. Caleb Owens led off the seventh with a single and was bunted to second. A dropped pop-up put him at third and he scored the game-winner on Andy Schultz's RBI single.

"A lot of things could be said about this game," Willmar coach Tom DeBoer said. "Both teams made a lot of mistakes and gave extra outs to each other. It came down to the last at bat, just like I felt it was going to."

Caleb Ditmarson came on to pitch the seventh after starter Bryan Wiedemann allowed just five hits and no earned runs in six innings. Ditmarson preserved the victory by striking out two and getting the game-ending out on a foul pop a few feet in front of the backstop.

"I talked to our pitchers today about getting ahead," DeBoer said. "It's not nice outside. Throwing strikes makes a big difference in weather like this.

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Willmar 6, Warriors 5

  • The key: Willmar scored the winning run on an error in the top of the seventh
  • Conference: Brd 4-4, W 1-2
  • Overall: Brd 6-5, W 2-3
  • Next: St. Michael-Albertville at Brainerd 5 p.m. Thursday, May 10.

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"(Ditmarson is) actually one of our starters. He's our top starter, but we haven't played for a week. We had arms ready to go today."

Willmar finished with nine hits to the Warriors' five, two of which came off the bat of McCale Peterson. Brainerd also labored in the field, committing four errors that led to all Willmar runs being unearned.

"They hit the ball hard, I'll give them that," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. "They gave us chances too to score. The mistakes weren't just one-sided. We made too many mistakes for this time of year. They're too good of a team with the bats to keep giving them chances over and over like that.

"I can't really put my finger on any one certain thing. We had two pretty good pitchers on the mound. We made a couple errors when we shouldn't have. These things happen."

Max Boran started for Brainerd. In five innings, he struck out seven and walked three. He allowed five hits and three runs (2 earned). Peterson relieved in the sixth and did not yield an earned run.

With two out in the Willmar sixth, Jon Broman cracked his second double of the game. After a walk, a Warrior throwing error scored two runs that enabled Willmar to tie it 6-6.

In the first, a bases-loaded walk to Hunter Wicklund and David Benson's sacrifice fly put Brainerd in front 2-0.

Willmar knotted it 2-2 in the third on Jack Baumgart's 2-run double.

After a failed suicide squeeze bunt in the third, the Warriors scored on a dropped fly ball.

Willmar tied it 3-3 in the fourth after two Warrior throwing errors.

Wicklund, who singled in the fifth, eventually scored on a throwing error for a 4-3 Brainerd lead.

Alex Haapajoki's RBI single in the sixth tied the game 6-6.

Owens, Schultz and Broman each finished with two hits for the Cardinals. Both of Broman's hits were doubles.

"He squared the ball up well and had some really good at bats for us," DeBoer said of Broman. "He actually was the CLC Player of the Week last week. He's swinging the bat well for us."

Willmar was playing only its fifth game of the season.

"Nothing worked out in our schedule last week," DeBoer said. "We had a couple extra open dates because of prom. So when all this mess with the weather cleared up we couldn't find anyone to play."

Willmar 002 102 1—6 9 6

Brainerd 201 011 0—5 5 4

Willmar: Bryan Wiedemann, Caleb Ditmarson (7) and Drey Dirksen.

Brainerd: Max Boran, McCale Peterson (6) and Josh Hukriede.

WP: Wiedemann.

LP: Peterson.

2B: W-Zak Madsen, Jack Baumgart, Jon Broman 2

SB: Brd-McCale Peterson 2, Max Boran; W-Jack Baumgart, Caleb Owens

Sac: Brd-Bryce McConville; W-Ditmarson

SF: Brd-David Benson

RBIs: Brd-Hunter Wicklund, Benson, Alex Haapajoki; W-Baumgart 2, Andy Schultz

DP: Brd 2

LOB: Brd 9, W 6