Blue Ox begins playoffs
NIMROD - The Blue Ox split a pair of games on Saturday, stopping Nimrod 8-4 on the loser's diamond but falling 14-8 to Huntersville in Menahga.
On Sunday Bemidji blistered Leech Lake 12-0.
The weekend's results give Bemidji a 15-3 record.
In Saturday's opener the Blue Ox scored eight runs on only five hits. Among them, however, was Chris Conway's grand slam home run which keyed a 5-run eighth inning. The Blue Ox added three runs in the ninth to cap the win.
Bryan Jamieson went the distance on the Bemidji mound. Nimrod touched him for two runs in the third and fourth frames. The Blue Ox could do nothing against Nimrod starting pitcher Gunnar Johnson who struck out 14 and allowed only one hit through seven innings.
Johnson was replaced by Paul Funk to start the eighth, however, and the Blue Ox went to work.
Funk walked Nick Lee, Matt Schneider and Jamieson and Landon Harris drove in Lee with a single.
An out later Conway gave Bemidji the lead with his grand slam.
Sol Schneider walked to open the ninth and, after a sacrifice bunt, Schneider scored courtesy of Matt Schneider's single. Matt Baier followed with a walk and both runners scored as Jamieson drilled a double.
At Huntersville the Blue Ox took a 2-0 lead when Jamieson singled and Landon Harris belted a home run. Bemidji took a 4-1 lead in the upper third when Baier singled, Jamieson double and Harris and Biehn hit sacrifice flies.
A walk to Matt Schneider and singles by Baier and Jamieson loaded the bases in the fourth and set the table for Harris' RBI walk. Baier gave the Blue Ox a 6-2 lead later in the frame when he scored on a wild pitch.
Huntersville, however, took charge with an 8-run sixth. It also scored four times in the seventh to cement the victory.
Jamieson had three singles and a double and Chris Conway contributed four singles to pace the offense. Baier added three singles.
Landon Harris dominated Leech Lake as he allowed only seven hits in pitching the shutout.
Harris was backed by a 12-hit attack which included Chris Conway's single, triple, home run and four RBI.
Harris contributed three RBI on a single and two sacrifice flies while Nolan Coyle added a pair of hits.
League playoffs begin
The Blue Ox finished the league season with a 13-1 record and will own the top seed in the playoffs.
Bemidji will begin its postseason 1:30 p.m. Saturday at home against Leech Lake which ended 4-10 in league play and is seeded second.
Saturday's other opener sees Cass Lake (6-8) at Nevis (7-7). On Sunday the first-round winners will tangle at the home of the higher seed and the loser's from the opening two games will also square off.
The tournament continues July 28-29 at the home of the highest remaining seed.
The Blue Ox has already earned an automatic berth in the regional playoffs but would be given the league's top seed if it can win the league playoffs
Blue Ox 000 000 053 - 8 5 3
Nimrod 002 200 000 - 4 7 2
Jamieson (W) and C.Conway. K-7, BB-1
Johnson, P. Funk (L, 8) and A.Funk. K-15, BB-7
Blue Ox 202 200 200 - 8 17 4
Huntersville 011 008 40x - 4 11 2
M.Schneider (L), S.Schneider (6), Jamieson (8) and Sweep. K-6, BB-5
Leech Lake 000 000 0 - 0 7 1
Blue Ox 340 320 x - 12 11 0
Johnson (L), LeBlanc (5), Guering (6) and Labat. K-3, BB-2
Harris (W) and C.Conway, Coyle (7). K-6, BB-3