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Bemidji washed out on first day of Class AAA baseball tourney

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ST. PAUL -- While their parents were in the hotel lobby trying to chase a chipmunk out the main door Thursday afternoon, the Bemidji High School baseball players were in the hotel courtyard playing speed catch.

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Both the parents and the players were trying to kill time while Minnesota State High School League officials were deciding how to proceed after an all-day rain forced the postponement of Thursday's opening round of the Class 3A tournament, which was to be played at Midway Stadium.

During the impromptu catch sessions, word came to BHS activities director Troy Hendricks that the new schedule would see the Lumberjacks taking on Hill-Murray 10 a.m. today at Dunning Field on the campus of Concordia-St. Paul.

Today's schedule also will find Bemidji playing at 3 p.m., either in the championship bracket at Midway Stadium or the consolation round at Dunning.

It is likely that the third place and consolation championship games will be pushed back to Saturday while the overall championship game is still set for 6 p.m. Monday at Target Field.

"We were all excited to play on Thursday but now we'll hang around, find something fun to do and wait for Friday," said BHS centerfielder Cody Rutledge. "We were ready to play and it is tough to get back up for the game a day later. But this is the state tournament so we'll be ready to go."

The parents also were ready to see their boys in action on Thursday and the postponement was not something they were looking forward to.

"It's hard to sit around and wait," said Cody Jenkins' mother Kim. "We came down on Wednesday afternoon so we could be at the state tournament banquet and now I guess we'll just have to do some shopping while we wait for Friday."

"We're proud of the players. It's been a great year," said Archie Jenkins, Cody's father. "Now we'll just have to wait one more day to watch them play."

Once Thursday's action was scrubbed the top priority of coach Mike Fogelson and Hendricks was finding a place for the players to take batting practice later that day.

"It would be nice if they could get in some batting practice," agreed Bemidji State coach Tim Bellew, whose son Mason plays first base for the Jacks.

"If we can't find a batting practice facility it will give a huge advantage to the home town teams in the tournament.

"But I don't think delaying the games a day will affect Bemidji more than any other team. The kids are anxious to play but they'll just have to wait another day."

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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