Bemidji turns attention to sub-district baseball tournament
The Bemidji Legion tied for first place in its pool with a 3-2 record at last weekend's Gopher Classic but Bemidji officially finished third in the six-team bracket because of criteria.
Mankato, Apple Valley and Meridan, Idaho joined Bemidji with a 3-2 record. Mankato and Apple Valley, however, defeated Bemidji during pool play and were awarded the top two spots.
Trailing the leaders in the pool standings were Mitchell, S.D. at 2-3 and Minneapolis Southwest at 1-4.
Mankato was awarded the pool's entry into the tournament's final 16 playdowns. In Sunday's final round, Bemidji defeated Minneapolis Southwest 6-0 in the 9 a.m. game. The Legion, however, didn't officially know its fate until after Sunday's 7 p.m. contest between Apple Valley and Mitchell. An Apple Valley loss would vault Bemidji into the final 16 while an Apple Valley win would mean an end to Bemidji's tournament action.
When the game finally ended Apple Valley outlasted Mitchell 11-10.
"Our win over Minneapolis Southwest was the best game we played in the tournament," said Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson. "Early in the tournament our pitchers gave up too many walks and our defense had too many errors. As a result, we lost two one-run ball games that kept us from advancing.
"But our mission was to play better each game and we did that."
Ryan Hirt pitched a complete game against Southwest and improved to 3-0 with a two-hit performance. The offense gave Hirt the only run he would need in the bottom of the first when Collin Leif singled and Tyler Follis ripped a double.
Dom Hayle's double and Sam Dwyer's single combined for a run in the second and the Legion iced the win with four in the third.
Follis began the inning with a walk and, after Cody Rutledge singled, Cody Jenkins belted a home run to left.
Mason Bellew and Hayle continued the inning with singles and Dwyer's double plated the final run.
"We wanted to end the tournament playing well so we can be at our best for the sub-district tournament," Fogelson said. "Now we have two days off to recharge our batteries."
Bemidji finished 11-1 against its sub-district opponents and will host the tournament Wednesday and Thursday.
The tourney will open 11 a.m. Wednesday with No. 2 Brainerd tangling with No. 3 Little Falls. At 2 p.m. top-ranked Bemidji will face No. 4 Nisswa.
The opening-round losers will meet in an elimination game at 5 p.m. while the winners will lock horns at 8 p.m. That winner will win the sub-district title while the loser will return to BSU Thursday at noon to face the other remaining survivor in the second-place battle.
The top two sub-district finishers will advance to the district meet.
All post-season games will follow American League rules. The games are nine-inning affairs and coaches may DH only for the pitcher. There will be no courtesy runners nor any re-entry options.
Mpls. Southwest 000 000 0 - 0 2 0
Bemidji 114 000 x - 6 11 0
Hirt (W 3-0) and Leif. K-6, BB-1
Sub-District 6 Tournament
Game 1: Brainerd (No. 2) vs. Little Falls (No. 3), 11 a.m.
Game 2: Bemidji (No. 1) vs. Nisswa (No. 4), 2 p.m.
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 5 p.m. (loser eliminated)
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 8 p.m. (winner is sub-district champion)
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, noon (winner is sub-district runner-up)
NOTE: Sub-district champion and runner-up advance to district tournament