Baseball: Bemidji Legion ends season with Brainerd sweep
The Bemidji American Legion went out in style Tuesday night, sweeping its final North Sub-District double header from Brainerd 9-3 and 8-3 at BSU.
Once 2-10, it leveled its overall mark at 12-12 and its league mark at 8-8. Brainerd dropped to 6-10 to fall to fourth and faces a play in game with Park Rapids to open the sub-district playoffs.
Bemidji will get the No. ,2 finisher, Little Falls or Nisswa which still have to meet twice before the week ends.
Bemidji, which split its two earlier games at Brainerd, controlled the home pair. As in Monday's sweep over Perham, it used the big inning in each game to win.
A seven-run second inning broke open the opener. A six- run fifth decided the nightcap.
Simon Anderson hurled an eight hitter in the opener fanning 10 and walking none for his second win in three decisions, both over Brainerd.
Bemidji's second inning explosion came without warning. Joel Martin had set down the side in order in the first and struck out the first two batters in the second.
But Tyler Tatro singled and Josh Kane reached on an error. Paul Voss singled in the first run and the second scored as Billy Statton reached on another miscue.
Jeremiah Graves singled in the third and following a hit batter, Cody Rutledge singled home two more. Anderson's single plated the sixth and seventh.
Martin quieted Bemidji until the fifth when it scored its final two runs. Hits by Anderson and Matt Hietala opened the frame and Anderson scored as Tatro reached on an error. Kane's sacrifice fly sent home Hietala.
Bemidji's lone error of the game staked Brainerd to a run in the fourth .
Two more scored in the sixth on singles by Brett Jenkins and Rob Veith, Martin's double plus a ground out.
Veith had two of the six Brainerd hits. Anderson and Tatro had two for Bemidji.
The nightcap was close through 4½ innings with Brainerd leading 3-2.
Bemidji scored in the second on hits by Hietala, Tatro and Kane.
Brainerd tied it in the third on a walk, steal, wild pitch and Martin's single.
Bemidji regained the lead in the fourth on singles by Hietala and Tatro, a sacrifice and wild pitch.
But Brainerd went ahead 3-2 in the fifth on four hits, the third, a Tom Fairbanks single with two outs, driving in both runs.
But it was big inning time for the Legion in the last of the frame.
Rutledge singled and Anderson was hit by a pitch. Hietala's single filled the bases and one run scored as the throw home bounced over the catcher to the backstop.
Tatro then doubled home two more and scored on Kane's one bagger.
That ended Trevor Howard's stay with lefty Ethan Branum coming on in relief for the second time.
He promptly threw two sacrifice bunts into right field to allow two more runs to score..
Rutledge went the route, working out of constant difficulties while stranding 12 runners. He gave up nine hits and walked four but was tight in the clutch.
Veith again had two hits for Brainerd. Hietala had a season high four and Tatro added three. With Kane and Rutledge getting two.
The Legion now heads to the Gopher Classic to end its regular season opening with Edina Friday night.
It goes against Jonny Mac of St. Louis and West St. Paul Saturday and Kenosha, Wis. and Chaska Sunday in pool play.
Should it qualify, it could face three more bracket games Monday and Tuesday