After Wednesday afternoon rain led to the rescheduling of a game, the Grand Rapids baseball team played a double header on Thursday against Duluth Denfeld and Cambridge-Isanti. The Thunderhawks took the first game against Denfeld 3-1 and defeated Cambridge-Isanti 3-2 the following game.
In the first game, Grand Rapids started slow, piling up three errors in the first inning and allowing a run. In the bottom of the inning, Collin Dibb tied the game up with a sacrifice fly that scored Gideon Beck.
For the rest of the game, the Thunderhawks played exceptional defense with Alex McBride on the mound. McBride only allowed one hit and struck out five Hunters while walking four throughout the entire game.
Grand Rapids found two more additional runs against Denfeld. One came in the third inning from back-to-back doubles from Wyatt Holcomb and Beck. Grant Anderson scored the last run of the game in the sixth inning after reaching on an error and coming home on a Dibb ground out.
Both Holcomb and Beck finished the game with a double and a single and Owen Linder had two singles.
The second game also started poorly for Grand Rapids as Cambridge-Isanti got two runs on two hits in the top of the first inning. The Thunderhawks immediately responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs of their own on a two RBI single from Wyatt Zuehlke.
Grand Rapids had another great defensive showing, but this time with Isaac Gustafson pitching the entire game. Cambridge-Isanti was unable to score any more runs while only finding three more hits in the last six innings.
The Bluejackets played good defense themselves and held Grand Rapids to two runs until the sixth inning when Dibb reached on an error and scored off a Holcomb single. The Thunderhawks then shut down Cambridge-Isanti in the top of the seventh inning to secure the second win of the day.
Gustafson finished the game on the mound with five allowed hits, two strikeouts and no walks. Grant Anderson finished the game with a double, and Zuehlke, Holcomb and Austin Moen each had a hit a piece.
Thursday was also senior night for the Thunderhawks. Grand Rapids coaches, players and fans paid tribute to the five seniors on the team: Grant Anderson, Ty Karnes, Isaac Gustafson, Beau Winkler and Collin Dibb.
Thunderhawk coaches Bill Kinnunen and Greg Tulla are optimistic moving forward. Both coaches say that they were satisfied with the pitching and overall defensive play of the team after the first inning of the Duluth Denfeld game. This is something that they are comfortable will continue as Tulla says that the team has a great advantage of having eight to nine players that they can put on the mound and lead the defense. Finally, Kinnunen states that these two wins may lock up the No. 1 seed in section 7AAA for Grand Rapids.
The next game for Grand Rapids was Friday night against Duluth East at Legion Field. After that, it is on to the section playoffs where the Thunderhawks are the No. 1 seed and host No. 8 Hibbing Tuesday.