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Bemidji Blue Ox resumes quest for state tournament trip

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ADA -- A trip to the state Class C amateur baseball tournament will be on the line Saturday when the Bemidji Blue Ox faces Moorhead in a Region 10-C elimination game here.

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The winner will advance to the state tournament which begins Aug. 16 in Delano and Maple Lake. At 4 p.m. Saturday the Blue Ox-Moorhead winner will face Roseau for the region's top seed into the state meet. Roseau assured itself a state berth last weekend after advancing to the title game with wins over Ada and Moorhead.

"We are very excited to be this close to the state tournament," said Blue Ox player-manager Chris Conway. "The guys are a little surprised that we made it this far and we are going into Saturday's game feeling that we have nothing to lose. If we win one more game we go to state and that is a great situation to be in."

Bemidji's journey to Saturday's action began last week with a 12-4 loss to Ada. That setback dropped the Blue Ox into the region tournament's loser's bracket but it continued to survive by defeating Crookston 6-5 and eliminating Cass Lake 3-2.

Moorhead had a first-round bye and then blanked Crookston 6-0. Roseau, however, slapped Moorhead 9-0 in the winner's bracket final.

"After watching Moorhead last week I saw that it is a young and a limber team and the players want to play baseball," Conway said. "But against Roseau they knocked the ball around too much. Moorhead had five or six errors in that game and imploded.

"I hope that continues on Saturday."

The Blue Ox will be missing only one impact player as Sam Dwyer has a family commitment. Saturday's projected lineup will see Matt Baier at short, Shawn Whiting in left, Ryan Sander on the mound, Chris Conway behind the plate, Duane Biehn in center, Joel Conway at second, Matt Schneider on first, Sol Schneider at third and Nick Lee in left.

"With Sam not available, this is as good a lineup as we can put on the field," Conway said. "We have our top pitcher on the mound and he is rested. And the rest of us are ready to play."

In Class B play the Bemidji Mudcats begin their post-season Friday night against Twin Ports in Hibbing. The Mudcats need to win that game to advance to the double-elimination phase of the five-team tournament.

If Bemidji does win it will face Hibbing 11 a.m. Saturday. The other teams in the 6-B tournament are Moorhead and Duluth.

Region 10-C, Ada

Saturday's Games

Bemidji Blue Ox vs. Moorhead, 1 p.m. (loser eliminated, winner advances to state)

Championship

Roseau vs. Blue Ox-Moorhead winner, 4 p.m. (winner is region's top seed for state tournament, loser is second seed)

Section 6-B, Hibbing

Friday's Late Games

Game 1: Bemidji Mudcats vs. Twin Ports

Game 2: Moorhead vs. Duluth

Saturday's Games

Game 3: Hibbing vs. Game 1 winner, 11 a.m.

Game 4: Game 2 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 1:30 p.m.

Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday's Games

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 11 a.m.

Game 8: Repeat of Game 7, 1:30 p.m. (if necessary)

Note: Top two teams advance to state tournament

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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