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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."
After using six pitchers in their first four games this week, the Brainerd Warriors needed a complete game from Colin Kleffman in Game Two of a Central Lakes Conference doubleheader Friday at Adamson Field. And Kleffman provided it during a 12-2 Brainerd victory in Game Two. He issued only one walk and allowed nine hits, but trusted his defense to make the plays. The Warriors turned two double plays behind him and center fielder Max Boran made a diving catch with two runners on and two out in the fourth. "I'm kind of pitching for my defense to make some plays," Kleffman said. "I'm not pitching to strike them out. I'm more of a pitch-to-get-them-out kind of guy.
Brainerd Warrior boys golf coach Brian Wallace calls him "Mr. Steady." After Monday's Central Lakes Conference meet at Willmar, Brainerd's Cody Evans is averaging 71.5 strokes per round. In the first five meets of the season, he was a medalist twice and finished second twice. His fourth-place finish at Willmar was his lowest so far this spring. Last week, Evans had a career week. He tied for medalist honors at the Lakeview Course in Detroit Lakes with a 1-over-par 65. He placed second at Pebble Lake Golf Course in Fergus Falls with a 75. He capped off his memorable week with medalist honors Saturday, April 30, at The Vintage at Staples with a 3-under-par 69.
Jack Evans was in a conundrum. Should he play in a Central Lakes Conference golf meet that teed off at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 30, at Willmar or, as a senior, attend what would be his final Brainerd Warriors All-Sports Banquet? After a little arm twisting from family and friends, it turns out Evans made the correct decision as he was named the Warriors' Male Athlete of the Year at the banquet. Three-sport athlete Regan McElfresh took home with the female honor.
With four games in five days this week, and pitch counts in effect, the Brainerd Warriors couldn't afford to use many pitchers against the Alexandria Cardinals Thursday. Even though the teams combined to hit five batters, issue 17 walks and commit two balks, the Warriors managed to use only McCale Peterson and Colin Kleffman on the mound as they escaped with a 10-9 victory at crisp Adamson Field. "Colin was going to start our game (Friday)," Warriors head coach Lowell Scearcy said, "but we decided if we get ahead we're going to bring him in today and try to win the game because Alexandria is a real good team. So we did, but I have to talk to (assistant coach) Keith Peterson and decide what we're going to do the next two days.
Unpredictable April weather during an unstable spring disrupted, or wiped out, roughly three weeks of competition. It affected the Brainerd Warriors softball team which had been practicing inside since March 12. The Warriors were able to practice outside one day before hosting a 3-game tournament last weekend against Cloquet, Champlin Park and West Fargo Sheyenne. Once the Warriors got outside, Brainerd senior shortstop Lexi Roby was raring to go and exhibited that by going 4-for-7 with two doubles, a grand slam and five RBIs during the tournament. She also scored five runs and swiped two bases.
Five years ago was the worst—weather-wise—I had ever seen for spring sports. In April of 2013, snow, rain and cold forced nearly an entire month's worth of lakes area high school sports—and state-wide—and Central Lakes College in Brainerd to postpone or cancel almost all of their events.
With Jeff Spieker and Zach Henke returning this spring, Brainerd boys head coach Rod Reuer projected hurdles as one of the Warriors' attributes. The twosome supported Reuer's observation by finishing 1-2 in the season-opening Central Lakes Conference indoor meet April 7 at St. Cloud State University. Spieker finished the 60-meter hurdles at 8.65 seconds followed by Henke at 8.77. "The first hurdle I went over wasn't the best," Spieker said. "I've had better. I messed up on that one. I jumped too high. I looked back and thought I heard a false start but I finished out the race. I felt pretty good. I was surprised by the time."
In its final season as a club team in 2017, the Brainerd Warrior girls team won eight of 10 games and finished second in the season-ending NorthCentral Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association Tournament. As Brainerd embarks on its first year as a Minnesota State High School League varsity program, head coach Todd Brown hopes the success from the club team transitions to the Warriors' inaugural varsity season. The Warriors will play in Section 8 along with Maple Grove, Monticello, Rocori, St. Michael-Albertville, Becker-Big Lake, Buffalo, Elk River/Rogers/Zimmerman, Osseo/Park Center, St. Cloud and Sartell/Sauk Rapids. Many of those teams the Warriors either will play this season, or have played in the past as a club team.
Tanner Lundberg has been one of the top tennis players in Section 8-2A for the last two years, as indicated by his two section singles championships and advancing to two 2A state singles tournaments. Inclement weather forced last week's season opener at Buffalo to move indoors and be played only in a doubles format. Lundberg, the Brainerd Warriors' No. 1 singles player, entered the event with 98 career wins. At Buffalo, he won all three of his doubles matches to join the 100-win club.