Bemidji's Northern Heat wins 12-year-old state crown
MOORHEAD - Bemidji's 12-year old Northern Heat Cal Ripken baseball team won the state championship over the weekend in Moorhead.
Bemidji went 4-0 in the tournament and defeated the host team 7-6 in the championship game.
The reward for the state championship is a trip to the Midwest Plains Regional which will be held July 25-30 in Grand Forks, N.D.. Bemidji will meet Iowa in the first round of the double-elimination eight-team tournament.
In the state meet Bemidji opened with a 5-0 victory over Breckenridge. George Loxtercamp went the distance to earn the pitching win.
Bemidji then blanked Osseo/
Maple Grove 7-0 as Zach Shauhbut pitched a one-hitter and led the offense with three singles.
In the championship final of the double-elimination event Bemidji thumped Moorhead 10-3. Loxtercamp earned the pitching victory and Dominic Evenson relieved. Adam Laakso contributed five RBI and hit an inside-the-park home run.
That victory advanced Bemidji into the title game and a repeat outing against Moorhead which came through the loser's bracket.
The teams were tied 6-6 after six innings of regulation and the game continued into the ninth.
Bemidji eventually won it when it advanced runners to second and third and Laakso drilled a pitch to the fence to plate Matt Fitzgerald with the game winner.
Bemidji will take a 28-8 record into the region tournament.
Bemidji's other Cal Ripken teams, the 10-U and 11-year-olds, placed second in their state tournaments.
The 10-U team will continue its season next week when it hosts the Midwest Plains Regional. Bemidji will face Nebraska at 10 a.m. July 26 in the tournament opener.
The 11-year-old team saw its season end with a 5-1 loss to Baxter in the state championship series.
Bemidji dropped its first game 10-4 to Roseau Friday and then battled through the loser's bracket all the way to the title series.
Along the way Bemidji defeated Pequot Lakes, Waite Park, Warroad and East Grand Forks.
Needing to defeat Baxter twice to win the state title, Bemidji's run came up short as Baxter won the first game 5-1.
The 10-U team also finished second in the state, losing 10-0 to Waite Park Nationals in the title series.
Bemidji began its state run with an 8-0 win over Waite Park Americans and then blanked Roseau 6-0.
Waite Park Nationals handed Bemidji a 6-1 loss but Bemidji bounced back to nip Baxter 7-4 in eight innings.
That victory advanced Bemidji into the championship series and a rematch with Waite Park Nationals.
Despite a triple and a double by Casey McNamara, Bemidji lost 10-0.
Bemidji will take an 18-7 record into next week's Midwest Regional.