Grand Rapids sweeps Bemidji in doubleheader
BEMIDJI — Grand Rapids tied the game with a run in the top of the seventh and scored three times in the ninth to down the Bemidji baseball team 4-1 in the second game of Wednesday’s home opening doubleheader at the Bemidji State University diamond.
The victory enabled the Thunderhawks to post the sweep as the visitors took the first game 11-0.
Grand Rapids dominated the first game as it scored at least one run in all five innings.
The visitors profited from nine walks and complimented those free passes with eight hits.
BHS managed only singles from Billy Baumgartner, Drew Peterson and Cody Labernik.
Collin Rutledge started on the Bemidji mound and lasted into the third inning.
Tom Revering relieved and went the rest of the way.
Peterson pitched the second game for BHS and he held Grand Rapids off the scoreboard until the seventh inning.
Through the first six innings Peterson allowed just five hits while fanning seven and walking only one.
The offense scored its first and only run of the doubleheader in the fourth. Devin Barrett was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and Billy Baumgartner bunted him to second. Barrett gained third on a passed ball and scored when Mitch Buckanaga drilled a line-drive sacrifice fly to right.
The Lumberjacks threatened in the second inning when a hit batter, Buckanaga’s single and a walk to Mark Fenner loaded the bases with two outs. But Grand Rapids escaped when Parker Lucas flied to right.
Peterson doubled to open the bottom of the sixth but that threat ended on a strike out and two ground balls.
The visitors tied the game in the top of the seventh on a walk, balk, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.
The 1-1 deadlock continued into the ninth inning but Grand Rapids used clutch two-out hitting to take control.
The rally began when Drew Sjostrand reached courtesy of a third strike pitch that got by the catcher. Zach Frazier walked to put two men on base but a strikeout and a fielder’s choice on Reid Holum’s ground ball put runners on the corners with two down.
Hunter Shepard followed with an RBI single to left. Shepard was caught in a rundown on the play but he gained second when Holum raced for home and drew a late throw to the plate.
Jake Bischoff capped the inning with an RBI double.
Connor McNallan pitched the final two innings for the Jacks and was tagged with the loss.
Buckanaga’s single and Peterson’s double were Bemidji’s only hits.
The Lumberjacks (2-5) continue their schedule today when they head to Thief River Falls for a doubleheader.
The Lumberjacks will be without the services of pitchers Ryan Hirt and James Hendricks the remainder of the season. Both experienced elbow pain in their throwing arms during the opening weekend of the spring.
Hendricks’ injury has been diagnosed as a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and he was advised to rest the arm for six to eight weeks.
Hendricks will not play baseball this spring nor during the summer but he is expected to be ready for the start of the fall football season.
Hirt’s injury appears to be more severe. An MRI revealed a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and surgery is a possibility. Hirt has scheduled a consultation with orthopedic physician Dr. Dan Buss for May 20. Buss is a team doctor for the Minnesota Twins.
“Right now my options see to be Tommy John surgery or rest and rehab,” Hirt said. “But we’ll know more after I see Dr. Buss.”
Grand Rapids 214 22 – 11 8 1
Bemidji 000 00 – 0 3 1
Bischoff (W) and Frazier. K-5, BB-0
Rutledge (L), Revering (3) Weidemann. K-6, BB-9
Grand Rapids 000 000 103 – 4 7 1
Bemidji 000 100 000 – 1 2 2
Hammann, Gessell (7), Bischoff (7) (W) and Bischoff, Frazier (7). K-5, BB-2
Peterson, McNallan (8) (L) and Buckanaga. K-10, BB-4