By Jim Carrington
The Bemidji Blue Ox made its debut into Norman-Polk County League play Saturday, dividing a double header at Roseau and dropping a pair Sunday at Crookston
It dropped the Ox to 1-3 in league play and 2-3 overall.
This weekend it travels to Ada for a Sunday twin bill..
Saturday Roseau took the opener 4-2 on a disputed home run in the last of the seventh. Bemidji took the nightcap 7-5.
The opener was a mound duel all the way with Bemidji taking a 2-1 lead into the seventh.
Bemidji scored twice in the third when pitcher Matt Fossen walked but was forced at second by Justin Huether. Colton Smith walked and newcomer Paul Neumann doubled to score both runs.
But the Blue Ox managed only two more hits the rest of the way, a double by Sol Schneider in the fourth and single by Dan Bennett in the seventh.
Roseau got one run back in the last of the third on a two out error and double by Burke.
Matt Fossen protected that lead through the sixth,
In the seventh, two singles around a strikeout and force out put two runners aboard. McMillan then drilled a shot that appeared to be well foul.
But it was ruled a home run to end the game.
Fossen hurled a seven hitter to suffer his first loss in two decisions.
Bemidji took charge of the second game early, scoring six runs in the second inning.
Smith made the lead stand up though Roseau cut the margin to 6-5 in the third before being blanked the final four frames. Bemidji added an insurance tally in the fifth.
Smith fanned six and walked the same number in going the distance for his first win.
Two walks and two hits produced a pair of Roseau runs in the first.
But singles by Chris Conway and Schneider with one gone in the second got the Blue Ox into motion.
An error prolonged the frame and a hit batter, Smith's single and a walk helped to roll up the six runs
Roseau came back with three in the third on singles by Larson and Beirmaier and a triple by Zoeller followed by a sacrifice fly,.
But Smith settled down after that frame fanning the side in order in the fourth and stranding two runners in the fifth and seventh.
The Ox scored its final run in the fifth on a walk and Schneider's single.
Smith and Schneider had two hits for the winners. Smith allowed only four
Blue Ox 020-000-0---2--4--2
Fossen (1-1)and Bennett
Roseau battery unavailable
Blue Ox 060-010-0---7--6--0
Smith (1-0) and Bennett
Hendrickson and R. Weston
The late game woes continued Sunday as Crookston rallied with three runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to pull out its opener 7-6, then broke a scoreless tie in the final inning to take the nightcap 1-0.
Bemidji built a 6-1 lead in the first game behind its ace Cody Gross.
It scored twice in the first on a pair of errors and Joel Conway's single and two more in the second on a walk, error, Josh Kelsey's ground out and a single by Smith.
Two more crossed in the sixth on Chris Conway's double, a walk and singles by Pat McSharry and Kelsey.
Gross, who had yielded a run in the first on a pair of doubles, took a five hitter into the sixth.
Then a double, single and three Blue Ox errors sent across three unearned runs.
With one gone in the seventh, Justin Johnson singled, Brock Hanson tripled him home and after a fielder's choice got no one out, Chris Erdman singled in the tying and winning runs.
Bemidji had only six hits off Mitch Bakken, three by Kelsey.
Crookston ended with 10, three by Hanson and two by Chance Kafe and Erdman
The nightcap was a mound gem between Ted Hasz of Crookston and the Blue Ox's Sol Schneider.
Hasz hurled a five hitter, a first inning single by Smith, a second inning one bagger by Chris Conway, anther by Bennett in the sixth and two out singles in the seventh by Chris Conway and Zac Stenson.
He struck out four and walked none.
But Schneider, sidelined all spring with the Lumberjacks by a bad arm, was even better.
Through six innings he struck out five and walked four but carried a no hitter into the last of the seventh.
Then Kyle Myers doubled, was sacrificed to third and scored on a sacrifice fly for the game's only run.
Chris Conway was the only player on either team with two hits.
Blue Ox 220-002-0---6-- 6--4
Gross (0-1) and Bennett
Bakken and Kafe
Blue Ox 0-00-000-0---0--5--0
Schneider (0-1) and C. Conway
Hasz and Proulx