Kalis' big day at the plate, on mound keeps Beavers in playoff hunt
BEMIDJI - With three finals on Wednesday's agenda, Logan Kalis didn't have much time to celebrate his contributions to Bemidji State's 8-1, 14-8 baseball sweep of Southwest Minnesota State Tuesday in the final home games of the spring.
"My parents were here but after the games I told them that I didn't have time to enjoy it with them," Kalis, who lives near Little Falls, said. "I told them I had to study."
It is unfortunate that Kalis had his finals in intermediate accounting, financial management and business law scheduled for Wednesday, because he certainly had reason to celebrate Tuesday's performances.
In the first game of the doubleheader the junior went 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI and three runs scored.
Kalis followed that performance with a 4-for-5 effort in the nightcap. Those hits included two home runs, a double and a single and produced six RBI. Kalis, who also was unintentionally/intentionally walked, scored three more times in the second game.
Collectively, Kalis had seven hits and a walk in 10 plate appearances, drove in 10 runs, scored seven times and pounded four home runs, three of them being 2-run shots to left field.
"Before the first game we just hit in the cage so I couldn't tell how things were going to go (at the plate)," Kalis said. "In the first at-bat the pitcher gave me pitches that I could drive. I just missed a fastball and fouled it back but then he came in with a slider and I hit it over the fence."
After the first at-bat, Beaver coach Tim Bellew had a feeling that Kalis was about to have a memorable day.
"Logan is the type of hitter who, once he gets locked in, will be a tough out," Bellew said. "On Tuesday all four of his home runs were mashed. I can't say that Logan had that look in his eye because my eyesight isn't that good, but he did appear to be locked in."
Following his 3-for-4 performance in the opener it would have been prudent for SMSU to consider pitching around the hot hitter. But, except for the fourth at-bat in the second game, the Mustang pitchers continued to challenge Kalis.
And SMSU always lost the challenge.
"After the first at-bat I could tell the zone I was working with. And for some reason they kept pitching me on the inside half of the plate," Kalis said. "All day I had an idea of what might be coming. And I was able to pick up the ball right away.
"It was just a day when everything was going right," Kalis continued. "Even when I made the two outs I put good swings on the ball but during those two at-bats the pitcher got me to swing at his pitch."
"I was surprised that Southwest kept pitching to Logan," Bellew said. "We really don't have any superstars on the team. We do have players in the lineup who can carry the team and it was great to see Logan be that player (Tuesday)."
In addition to providing the offensive spark, Kalis also went the distance on the mound in the second game.
He allowed eight runs (six earned) on 13 hits. Kalis also fanned five.
"What Logan did at the plate was important but what he did on the mound was even more important," Bellew said. "We don't have many guys who can pitch nine innings and still be throwing 87 miles per hour at the end."
Jaryd Marks almost matched Kalis' offensive numbers in the second game as he went 4-for-6 with four RBI. Dylan Webb went 4-for-5 with an RBI and Riley Hirsch had a 3-for-5 game with three runs scored and two RBI.
Trevor Purvis also had three hits.
"We have many kids in our program who contribute every game and during the last two or three weeks these kids have become a family," Bellew said. "That family has one goal -- to try and get into the NSIC postseason."
Tuesday's sweep helped in that effort but the Beavers still have more work to do. The next goal will be to end the regular season on a positive note by taking four games this weekend at Northern State.
Entering Wednesday's NSIC action BSU was seventh in the conference standings. The top six teams after this weekend's play will earn berths in the league playoffs.
"The best thing about Tuesday is that the two wins keep us alive for the playoffs," Kalis said.
"Hopefully I can contribute again this weekend. I won't expect to go 7-for-9 again but I would like to get some hits and drive in some runs.
"All we can do is try to win four games at Northern," Kalis added. "Whatever the outcome, this team has something to be proud of. We've won more than 20 games (only the sixth BSU team to do that) and we've grown together as a team."