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Bemidji second baseman Parker Lucas reaches for the ball as Brainerd’s Luke Boran slides in safely during Monday’s Section 8-3A playoff game. Brainerd won 13-3. Steve Kohls | Brainerd Dispatch

BASEBALL: Bemidji beats Sartell, falls to Brainerd on first day of Section 8-3A tournament

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BRAINERD — The Bemidji High School baseball team opened and closed its Monday with a pair of 10-run-rule ballgames.

Unfortunately for the Lumberjacks, they were on the losing end of the latter game.

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Bemidji blanked Sartell-St. Stephen 10-0 in its opening round game at the Section 8-3A baseball tournament at Brainerd before falling to hosts Brainerd 13-3 in the second game of the day, a quarterfinal matchup.

“We played really well in the first game,” BHS head coach Mike Fogelson said. “Collin Rutledge pitched well and we capitalized.

“We didn’t pitch well or hit well in the second game.”

The loss to the Warriors puts the fifth-seeded Lumberjacks (12-8) into the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

Bemidji will take on ninth-seeded St. Michael-Albertville in a loser-out elimination game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bemidji State. St. Michael Albertville lost to top-seeded Alexandria 3-2 Monday.

For the Lumberjacks Monday, the fast start against Sartell didn’t translate to a win against Brainerd.

The Lumberjacks had six hits and capitalized on eight Sartell errors to win the game in just six innings.

Collin Rutledge threw all six innings, gave up just two hits and struck out five Sabres to record the win for Bemidji.

Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks wore down Sartell starter Zachary Motschke and reliever Max Korprek.

The Jacks scored two runs in the second inning but did a majority of their damage in the fifth and sixth.

Bemidji scored three runs in the fifth.

In the sixth, Austin Weidemann hit a solo home run to right field. Then Nick Hovila singled.

That was the only other hit BHS would need against the Sabres, as a combination of a walk and four errors would bring in the four more runs necessary to end the game at 10-0.

Against fourth-seeded Brainerd, Bemidji couldn’t find an offensive stroke.

The Warriors (14-6) scored the first four runs of the game but the Lumberjacks appeared to claw back in their half of the third.

Billy Baumgardner was walked with the bases loaded to score one run then Connor McNallan hit a two-run single. Just like that, it was 4-3 and the Jacks had a shot.

But Bemidji couldn’t find any more offense, and the Brainerd bats came alive in the fourth and fifth innings, eventually walking off for a 13-3 win with a five-run fifth.

“Early in the game we game them runs,” Fogelson said. “Late in the game they just started hitting us.”

The Warriors collected 11 hits in the game and benefitted from three Bemidji errors.

McNallan started and took the loss for Bemidji while Drew Sannes went the distance for Brainerd’s victory; he gave up just four hits, walked three and struck out seven.

Bemidji 10, Sartell 0

Sartell 000 000 – 0 2 8

Bemidji 020 035 – 10 6 0

Motschke (L), Korprek (5) and Partch. K-3, BB-5.

Rutledge (W) and Buckanaga. K-5, BB-3.

Brainerd 13, Bemidji 3

Bemidji 003 00 – 3 4 3

Brainerd 220 045 – 13 11 1

McNallan (L), Anderson (4) and Buckanaga. K-1, BB-6.

Sannes (W) and DeChaine. K-7, BB-3.

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on Bemidji State but also covering area high schools. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
(218) 333-9772
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