Blue Ox cruise in playoff opener
BEMIDJI - The Bemidji Blue Ox had no troubles in their playoff opener Saturday afternoon.
A 13-hit outburst, coupled with strong pitching from Bryan Jameson and Matt Schneider, helped Bemidji cruise to an 11-0, run-shortened victory over the Leech Lake Walleyes at the Bemidji State baseball diamond.
The Blue Ox (14-1) will take on either Cass Lake or Nevis in second-round action today at BSU.
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 this afternoon.
The Blue Ox struck right away with a run in the first inning. Matt Baier singles, stole second then scored on Jameson's single.
In the second, the Ox sent 10 men to the plate. Curtis Conway walked to lead off the inning. Following a flyout from Duane Biehn, Joel Conway and Nolan Coyle each singled to bring Curtis Conway home.
Baier flied out to for the inning's second out, but a double from Jameson scored Joel Conway and Coyle. Then Ryan Sander singled to score Baier. Joe Kelsh singled and advanced on an error and by the end of the second the Ox had a 6-0 lead.
Leech Lake held the Ox scoreless in the third but Bemidji scored five more runs in the fourth to run away with the game.
Jameson started the inning with a flyout, but Sander doubled, then Landon Harris singled to score him. Curtis Conway, Duane Beihn, Joel Conway and Nolan Coyle all reached base in the inning to put Bemidji in the drivers' seat.
Jameson got the win on the mound, throwing five innings and giving up only two hits; he struck out one. Schneider pitched the final two innings of the run-shortened game, also giving up two hits and striking out one.
The Ox had 13 hits off Leech Lake hurler Matt Kunari, who took the loss. Sander was 2-for-4 with a double, single and 3 RBIs, while Jameson also went 2-for-4, with a single and a double. Every player in the Blue Ox starting lineup had at least one hit.
Bemidji 11, Leech Lake 0 (7 innings)
Leech Lake 000 000 0 - 0 4 3
Bemidji 150 500 x - 11 13 2
Kunari (L), Day (5) and Labat. K- 4, BB-6.
Jameson (W), Schneider (5) and Conway. K-2, BB-2.