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Amateur baseball: Blue Ox win Region 10C championship, receive bye in first round of state tournament

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Blue Ox captured the Region 10 championship over the weekend with a 15-4 victory over Ada in the title game in Roseau.

The reward for that win is a berth in the Minnesota Class C state amateur baseball tournament and a bye into the second round.

The Blue Ox (19-4) will begin their state tournament experience 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 24 in Belle Plaine. Bemidji will take on either Jordan or Luxemburg in its state opener.

Jordan is the second seed from Region 6 while Luxemburg advanced to state as the third seed from Region 11.

Those teams will tangle on Aug. 17 in Belle Plaine and the winner will take on the Blue Ox.

Ada is the second seed from Region 10 and will face Hinckley, the Region 1 champion, on Aug. 17. If Ada can slip past Hinckley it will advance to battle St. Peter, the champion of Region 6.

The Class C tournament, which is hosted by Belle Plaine and Jordan, features 48 teams in a single-elimination event. The tournament will conclude with the championship game Sept. 1 in Jordan.

The Blue Ox won all four of their playoff games, disposing of Cass Lake in the Lake and Pine League tournament and posting three consecutive victories in the region playoffs.

In Saturday’s title contest Bemidji took control from the outset as it scored five runs in the top of the first.

Nick Hovila began the game by drawing a walk and he advanced to third on a stolen base and an error. Hovila scored when Matt Baier’s grounder to short was booted and Baier promptly scored courtesy of Ryan Sander’s double.

Connor McNallan reached courtesy of another error and a walk to Cody Jenkins loaded the bases. A pair of runners scored when Ryan Stevens singled and the fifth run of the frame crossed the plate with the aid of Collin Rutledge’s single.

Ada touched Bemidji pitcher Ryan Sander for three runs in the second but the Blue Ox responded with four in the upper third. The inning featured a walk to Simon Anderson, Stevens’ RBI single, doubles off the bats of Collin Rutledge and Baier and Hovila’s 2-run single.

Hovila doubled and Baier singled to start the Bemidji fifth and both scored courtesy of Sander’s sacrifice fly and a delayed steal.

McNallan’s walk, Anderson’s triple and a wild pitch combined for a pair of runs in the sixth and Anderson’s double plated Baier and McNallan in the seventh inning.

Hovila, Baier and McNallan each scored three runs and Baier had a double and two singles. Anderson contributed three RBI on a double and a triple and Steven’s two singles brought home three teammates.

Sander went the distance on the Bemidji mound. He scattered 10 hits, fanned six and walked only one.

Region 10C Championship

Blue Ox 504 022 2 - 15 13 1

Ada 020 010 0 - 4 10 6

Sander (W) and Baier. K-6, BB-1

Cook (L), Kappes (6) and Kappes, Gullingsrud (6). K-5, BB-6

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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