Bemidji captures 11-year-old state championship
Bemidji's Northern Heat completed a remarkable comeback Monday defeating Baxter 5-3 to claim the Cal Ripken 11-year-old state baseball championship.
Bemidji now heads to Sikeston, Mo. for the eight-state regional which runs from July 28 to Aug. 2.
A loser in its second start to Baxter, Bemidji won five straight games including the final pair from Baxter to claim the crown.
It was the first for the team since 2006. That team is now the bulk of the highly successful VFW Bemidji team.
Bemidji followed its loss with wins over Thief River and the East Twins Saturday. Sunday morning it ousted Waite Park 5-2, scoring four runs in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie.
Waite Park tallied once in the bottom of the sixth but came no closer.
Three hurlers combined on a four hitter with George Loxtercamp going the first three and Zac Schaubhut the last two.
Cade Ogden had three hits including a double. Ryan Pogue added two.
The Heat reached the final with Sunday's 8-5 delayed win over Baxter, a game delayed four hours at its midpoint by the afternoon monsoon.
Bemidji scored five times in the fifth inning to overcome Baxter which led 5-3 at that point.
The game had been halted in the fourth by the deluge and resumed Sunday evening.
Bemidji pounded out 10 hits with Matt Fitzgerald getting three. He and Pogue doubled.
Schauhbut and Loxtercamp combined to limit Baxter to seven, Loxtercamp coming on in the fourth to get the win.
The decision reversed a 10-4 setback to Baxter in the second round of play.
Bemidji led all the way in the title game.
It took a 2-0 lead in the first on run-scoring singles by Brady Weidemann and Ogden and added another in the second when Jonah Muller singled and scored on a dropped fly ball in left field.
Baxter had scored in the top of the frame.
The 3-1 lead lingered into the fifth when Bemidji added two runs which proved to be the difference.
Weidemann doubled and scored on Ogden's single. He crossed on a Tony Long double.
Loxtercamp and Schaubhut ran out of innings after five and Dominic Evenson came on to close out the game.
It did not come easily, however. An opening single seemed harmless when he got the next two batters.
But a hit batter and single sent home one run and a walk and wild throw plated another and loaded the bases.
But Evenson closed out the game with a strikeout to nail down the title.
Ogden went 3-3 and Weidemann 2-3, each with a double, to go with Long's two-bagger.
The 6-1 tournament lifted the Heat to 10-9-2 on the year.
Donations to help finance the 900-mile journey to the regional are being accepted. They should be sent to the BYLB, Box 1533, Bemidji.
Bemidji 010 040 - 5 8 2
Waite Park 010 001 - 2 4 6
Loxtercamp, Evenson (4), Schaubhut (5) and Muller, Loxtercamp (6)
Grell, Klein (5) and Gohman
Bemidji 021 050 - 8 10 0
Baxter 301 100 - 5 7 2
Schaubhut, Loxtercamp (4) and Muller, Goins (4)
Peterson, Anderson (4) and Kleffman
Baxter 010 002 - 3 3 1
Bemidji 210 02x - 5 7 2
Anderson, Kleffman (3), Evans (5) and Peterson
Loxtercamp, Schaubhut (4), Evenson (6) and Muller, Goins (5), Loxtercamp (6)