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Amateur baseball: Blue Ox will meet Jordan in state tournament opener

BEMIDJI — If the Bemidji Blue Ox advance deep into the 2014 Class C Minnesota amateur baseball tournament, they will earn every step.

Traditional powers have been established in Class C baseball, most of them residing in southern and central Minnesota, and the Blue Ox are trying to join that fraternity. It is an uphill battle, however, as summer baseball rules the roost south of St. Cloud but has had trouble taking root in northern Minnesota.

Jordan is one of the places in southern Minnesota that embraces baseball. Belle Plaine is another and it is no coincidence that those two communities are hosting the state Class C tournament for the umpteenth time.

A year ago Belle Plaine finished second at state, losing to Sartell in the championship game. Sartell also bumped Jordan out of the tournament in the semifinals.

Ironically, Belle Plaine and Sartell will stage a rematch on Saturday as Belle Plaine belted Detroit Lakes 10-2 over the weekend while Sartell had a bye into its second-round game against the Tigers.

Jordan also advanced with a 5-1 victory over Luxemburg. That victory vaulted Jordan into the second round and Sunday’s 11 a.m. game against Bemidji in Belle Plaine.

If the Blue Ox can slip past Jordan, they will return south on Aug. 30 to take on either Waconia or Howard Lake in Jordan. Neither would be an easy foe. Both communities are located in the southern half of the state and a year ago Howard Lake advanced to the state quarterfinals where it lost 7-6 to Belle Plaine.

“We’re going to play a veteran Jordan team and it would be nice to show the state how we play baseball in northern Minnesota,” said Blue Ox coach Matt Baier.

“If we do the little things right and show up to the park ready to play, I think we can have success.”

During his time playing for Springfield, Baier played in many state tournaments and the Blue Ox coach is very familiar with amateur baseball and the teams that dominate the Class C ranks.

“I really enjoy the amateur tournament. It is a great baseball atmosphere and it will be a great experience for our players. I’m looking forward to taking these guys to the state.”

Class C State Tournament

Belle Plaine/Jordan

First Round Results

Fort Ripley 2, Spring Hill 1

Winsted 2, Pelican Rapids 0

Loretto 1, St. Benedict 0

Belle Plaine 10, Detroit Lakes 2

Jordan 5, Luxemburg 1

Howard Lake 5, Montevideo 0

St. Patrick 7, Richmond 2

Nisswa 4, Cannon Falls 3

Green Isle 9, Lamberton 1

Ada 5, Hinckley 2

Owatonna 2, New Munich 1

Luverne 3, Delano 2

New Market 11, Mora 1

Sobieski 2, Hanska 0

Kimball 7, Plato 6

Fairmont 4, Hampton 1

Second Round

Friday, Aug 22

Blue Earth vs. Fort Ripley

New Ulm Brewers vs. Loretto

Dumont v s. Green Isle

Maple Lake vs. Sobieski

Saturday, Aug. 23

St. Augusta vs. Winsted

Sartell vs. Belle Plaine

Waconia vs. Howard Lake

Jackson vs. St. Patrick

Waseca vs. Nisswa

St. Peter vs. Ada

Lastrup vs. Owatonna

St. Martin vs. Fairmont

Sunday, Aug. 24

Bemidji Blue Ox vs. Jordan, 11 a.m., Belle Plaine

Faribault vs. Luverne

Long Prairie vs. New Market

Fergus Falls vs. Kimball

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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