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Amateur baseball: Sander pitches, bats Blue Ox to 9-1 win over Cass Lake

Cass Lake third baseman Mike Hanson reaches for a nubber down the line during Wednesday's game against the Bemidji Blue Ox. Collin Rutledge beat the throw on the play and his single was one of 13 Bemidji hits which led to a 9-1 victory. Pat Miller } Bemidji Pioneer1 / 3
Cass Lake's Jake Ellis dives back to first base and reaches safely as Blue Ox first baseman Ryan Stevens can't handle the attempted pickoff throw. The Blue Ox defeated the Reds 9-1 Wednesday night at BSU. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 3
Blue Ox starting pitcher Ryan Sander allowed only one run and three hits during his seven innings of work Wednesday against Cass Lake. Sander also paced the offense with two doubles and two singles as Bemidji won 9-1. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer3 / 3

BEMIDJI -- Ryan Sander allowed only three hits in seven innings of pitching and spearheaded the offense with two doubles and two singles as the Bemidji Blue Ox stopped Cass Lake 9-1 late Wednesday at the BSU diamond.

The visitors used a walk and double to score in the first inning but Sander shut the door on the Reds the rest of the way. He completed seven innings before giving way to Ryan Brezinski who held Cass Lake off the board in the final two frames, allowing only one hit.

Chad Wittner's walk and Tyler Wittner's booming double to deep center produced a Cass Lake run in the opening stanza but the Reds advanced only two runners as far as second the rest of the way. Tyler Trosen singled to begin the upper second and stole second but Sander retired the next three batters on two strikeouts and a comebacker to the mound.

In the Cass Lake fourth Tyler Wittner reached on an error and moved up a base courtesy of another Blue Ox boot but a strikeout and ground ball ended that threat.

Bemidji answered Cass Lake's single run in the first inning with a four-run explosion off Trosen.

Nick Hovila started the frame with a walk and, after stealing second, Hovila scored when Sander singled to right. A walk to Cody Rutledge put runners at first and second and both scored when Conner McNallan singled to right. McNallan later scored after singles by Sam Dwyer and Cody Jenkins.

Bemidji's four runs came on five hits and two walks but Trosen found his groove after the rough start. The right-hander kept the Blue Ox off the scoreboard during the next four innings and retired 10 consecutive batters during that stretch.

Singles by Mitch Hendricks and Sander to open the fifth snapped that streak but Trosen escaped harm by coaxing an infield pop fly, a strikeout and a ground ball to second.

His luck ran out in the bottom of the seventh, however, as the Blue Ox scratched home a key insurance tally.

Dwyer fanned to open the stanza but reached when Cass Lake catcher Taylor Humphrey couldn't handle the wild pitch on the third strike. Jenkins followed with an infield single and Dwyer scored when he stole third and the throw to the bag sailed into the outfield.

The home team iced the win with two runs in the seventh, courtesy of Sander's double, Cody Rutledge's RBI single and Ryan Steven's run-scoring single to right.

Bemidji capped the scoring with three in the lower eighth. The inning included walks to Hovila, Chris Conway and Dwyer, Sanders' double and Hendricks' single.

Hendricks and Jenkins each contributed a pair of singles to Bemidji's 13-hit attack. Sanders and McNallan collected a pair of RBIs.

The Blue Ox return to action Sunday when they host Hibbing for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.

Cass Lake 100 000 000 - 1 4 2

Blue Ox 400 001 22x - 9 13 3

Trosen (L), Hanson (7), T.Wittner (8) and Humphrey. K-10, BB-6

Sander (W), Brezinski (8) and Conway. K-11, BB-2

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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