BLOOMINGTON - Bemidji's Legion baseball team fell short in its bid to win the Gopher Classic, posting a 3-2 record, but missing the championship round could be a blessing in disguise.
"Now we'll get some time off so we can rest for the sub-district playoffs," said Legion coach Mike Fogelson.
The sub-district involves top-seeded Little Falls, Bemidji and Brainerd and the double-elimination event will be played in Little Falls. The top two teams will advance to the district meet.
Little Falls will battle Brainerd at 10 a.m. Thursday and Bemidji will take on Brainerd at 1 p.m. The first day will conclude with Bemidji facing Little Falls at 4 p.m.
If one of the teams finishes 2-0 after Thursday's round-robin it will advance to the sub-district championship round to take on the team that finished 1-1. The 0-2 squad would be eliminated.
Play would resume Friday with one or two games.
If all three teams finish 1-1 on Thursday Bemidji and Brainerd would meet to determine which team would face Little Falls for the sub-district title.
In Sunday's final day of the Gopher Classic round-robin play Bemidji needed two victories to advance to Monday's championship round.
The Legion did the job in Sunday's opener as Zach Solheim tossed a 2-hitter to power Bemidji to a 3-1 victory over Farmington.
Bemidji's hopes of a championship-round game ended later Sunday, however, as the Legion was no-hit and committed five errors in a 10-0 loss to DePere, Wis.
"Everybody was able to set their pitching staff to throw their ace in the fifth game and we saw DePere's top pitcher," Fogelson said. "DePere was a very strong team and our defense did not play well. If we catch the ball the game may have had a different outcome."
The Legion did hit some balls hard off DePere pitcher Tyler Nehring but could not find a gap.
"I thought we had a double that hit the line down left field but it was ruled a foul ball," Fogelson said. "And we hit a bunch of balls hard but DePere made all the plays.
"The last game was not an indication as to how we played in the entire tournament."
A better representative of the Legion's overall play was Sunday's opener against Farmington. Solheim kept Farmington off balance all day and he sparked the offense with an RBI triple in the second inning. Solheim promptly scored the game's second run when Nick Conner grounded out.
Bemidji added an insurance tally in the fifth when Sam Dwyer singled and Dom Hayle doubled him home.
Advancing to the Gopher Classic championship round were Apple Valley, Napoleon (Ohio), Coon Rapids, Hamline Purple, Papillion (Nebraska), New Ulm, Lakeville North, Sioux Falls, Lakeville South, Eastview, Elk Grove (Illinois) and Albert Lea.
Farmington 000 100 0 - 1 2 0
Bemidji Legion 020 010 x - 3 4 1
Lipinski (L) and Dittman. K-2, BB-3
Solhiem (W) and Leif. K-6, BB-1
DePere (Wis.) 040 06 - 10 6 0
Bemidji Legion 000 00 - 0 0 5
Nehring (W) and Shoman. K-3, BB-3
Baker (L), Hendricks (5) and Leif. K-2, BB-3