ST. CLOUD - One bad inning was all it took for the Bemidji Post 14 Legion baseball team to be eliminated from the District VI Tournament in St. Cloud.
St. Cloud Chutes scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and Bemidji couldn't recover, leading to a 10-6 Chutes win and Bemidji's exit from the tournament.
"(Chutes) pitchers did a good job," Bemidji head coach Mike Fogelson said. "They didn't give up any free bases. Walks and hit batters make a difference. We gave them a lot of free bases and it cost us."
Bemidji, which finishes the season 20-9-1, had trouble keeping runners off the base paths. Bemidji pitchers combined to walk six, hit four batters and gave up nine hits.
And that ugly bottom of the fourth was the worst.
Bemidji went into the frame tied 3-3. But then the pitching broke down. Legion pitchers hit all four batters in the fourth inning and allowed one walk and one error - all while giving up only two hits. That led to six Chutes runs and a 9-3 lead.
"That big inning really did us in," Fogelson said.
Bemidji managed to hold Chutes to only one more run scored - in the bottom of the sixth.
But that deficit proved too big.
Bemidji tried to chip away, scoring a run in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth, but couldn't get back into the game.
"We actually had a shot," Fogelson said. "We were down 10-4 in the ninth, and the first three batters reached. We were closing the gap but they got out of it."
Cody Jenkins started and took the loss for Bemidji, while Cody Rutledge, Aaron Nissen and Connor McNallan all pitched in relief.
Brian Minks threw all nine innings to earn the win for Chutes.
Offensively, Bemidji racked up 15 hits but couldn't get runs on the board.
Rutledge led the way for Bemidji with two doubles and a single, while Jenkins had a double and two singles and Sam Dwyer added a triple and a single.
"It was a tough way to end the year," Fogelson said. "But this group of seniors has accomplished a lot in their four years. I know they wanted to end on a winning note but they have a lot to be proud of."
St. Cloud Chutes 10, Bemidji 6
Bemidji 020 100 012 - 6 15 1
Chutes 030 601 00x - 10 9 1
Jenkins (L), Rutledge (4), Nissen (5), McNallan (8) and Leif. K-2, BB-6.
Minks (W) and Schmitz. K-3, BB-0.