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Baseball: Bemidji sweeps Moorhead to begin season

MOORHEAD -- Ryan Hirt tossed seven innings of 2-hit baseball in the opener, Collin Rutledge pitched a shutout in the nightcap and the Bemidji High School baseball team began its season Thursday with a doubleheader sweep at Moorhead.

The Lumberjacks scored seven runs in the eighth inning to claim the first game 8-1 and completed the day with a 4-0 victory in the rematch.

BHS will take a 2-0 record into Tuesday’s home debut against Alexandria. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled for 4 p.m.

“Early in the season you worry about your pitchers throwing strikes and your defense making the routine plays. And we were successful in both areas,” said Lumberjacks coach Mike Fogelson. “Offensively it took us a few innings to find our bats but we kept getting better as the day progressed.”

Hirt and Rutledge begin the spring as Bemidji’s aces and the lefties lived up to that billing Thursday.

After yielding an unearned run in the opening frame Hirt shut the door on the Spuds. The senior, who missed all of last year with an elbow injury, was in complete command as he allowed only two hits in seven innings while striking out 12. Hirt also did not issue a walk.

“Ryan looked very fluid on the mound,” Fogelson said. “He threw hard and had great control. I was very happy with Ryan’s comeback outing and so was he. Ryan threw with no pain and didn’t want to come out.”

Bemidji answered Moorhead’s unearned run with a single tally in the fourth as Thomas Revering walked, advanced to third on two wild pitches and scored courtesy of Austin Weidemann’s single.

The 1-1 deadlock continued through the rest of regulation but in the eighth inning Bemidji’s offense caught fire.

Rutledge and Hirt both walked to begin the rally and they advanced when Lucas Goins dropped a sacrifice bunt. Revering plated both runners with a double and, after Weidemann walked, Park Lucas drove in Revering with a double.

Jake Leitner ran for Weidemann and scored on a wild pitch and Lucas touched the plate when James Hendricks reached on an infield error.

Erik Fitzgerald added to the big inning with an RBI single and he scored when Rutledge’s single was misplayed by the Moorhead outfield.

Dan Johnson was the only Lumberjack with a two-hit game as he stroked two singles.

In the rematch Bemidji scored the only runs it would need in the first inning when Hendricks walked, Rutledge reached on an error, Weidemann delivered an RBI single and Revering doubled home Rutledge.

Back-to-back doubles by Hendricks and Rutledge combined for a run in the fifth and BHS capped the scoring in the seventh when Hendricks doubled and Rutledge singled.

Rutledge allowed only five hits on way to his shutout. The senior fanned seven and walked only three.

“Collin threw a nice game,” Fogelson said. “He threw strikes and kept Moorhead’s batters off balance.

“When you play doubleheaders it’s nice having a 1-2 lefty punch on the mound like we have with Ryan and Collin.”

First Game

Bemidji 000 100 07 - 8 7 1

Moorhead 100 000 00 - 1 2 2

Hirt (W), Anderson (8) and Revering. K-12, BB-0

Erickson, Amundson (8, L), Klindt (8) and Skjefke. K-6, BB-6

Second Game

Bemidji 200 010 1 - 4 9 0

Moorhead 000 000 0 - 0 5 2

Rutledge (W) and Revering. K-7, BB-3

Kraiter (L) and Skjefke. K-1, BB-2

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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