LEGION BASEBALL: Bemidji comes from behind to top Moorhead
MOORHEAD -- On Thursday the Moorhead Blues were able to rally and beat No. 2-seeded Perham in the first round of the Minnesota Division I Sub-State 14 American Legion baseball tournament.
But on Friday, the Blues fell short to Bemidji at Matson Field.
Thomas Revering and Collin Rutledge drove in a combined three runs in the third inning to lift Bemidji to a 3-2 win over Moorhead and advance to the semifinals at 7 p.m. today.
"When we play these close games we have to make sure we're on board and taking care of business," Revering said. "We take it game by game, survive and advance."
The Blues tallied four hits in the first two innings, but were shut down the rest of the game by Conner McNallan, who gave up no runs and four hits through six innings pitching in relief of starter Seth Anderson.
Anderson was replaced after he pitched into a bases-loaded jam in third. With two outs, McNallan worked his way back from a 3-0 count against Brandon Porter and got him to ground out to end the threat.
"They played hard and their defense was spot on, too," Bemidji head coach Nate Blumhagen said of Moorhead. "They didn't make it easy for us. Hats off to them."
Porter was on third base when Brandon Weiser took off from first attempting to steal second. The throw was on time, but off target and took a bad bounce into the outfield to allow allowed Porter to score. With two outs, Jason England hit a shot to shallow center to drive in Weiser for a two-run lead.
But the lead was short lived after Bemidji bounced back in the third off back-to-back run-scoring singles from Revering and Rutledge.
Moorhead starter Preston Kraiter walked two consecutive batters in the third to set up Revering for his two-run single. Revering's hit dropped in shallow center field and scored Erik Fitzgerald and Conner McNallan to knot the game 2-2 and Rutledge followed with a single to score Revering and take a one-run lead.
"This is something we've struggled to do throughout the year, close out games and play in tough situations," Blumhagen said. "But playing good defense on the biggest stage we've had yet and for Conner to step up and make big pitches in big moments was great for us."
Bemidji committed one error and McNallan added a single in the first to total three hits.
"We had our chances tonight, I mean the difference from (Thursday's) game and (Friday's) game was execution," Blues head coach Bryant Bergeson said. "We got a couple of two-out hits when we needed them Thursday and tonight we just didn't get those hits."
Bemidji will play against No. 1-seeded Alexandria in today's semifinal game at 1 p.m.
The Blues drop down to the loser's bracket and will face Fergus Falls in elimination game at 10 a.m. today.
Alexandria held on to beat Thief River Falls 8-4. They gave up the lead in the seventh, but Beau Backhaus ripped a three-run triple to clear the bases and take back the lead 5-3.
Fergus Falls and East Grand Forks stayed alive in the loser's bracket with wins over Detroit Lakes and Perham, respectively.
FF's Abram Aho and Tim Rasmussen each had triples to help top DL 12-4 and advance to the quarterfinals today. Rasmussen's triple scored three runs and helped him finish with four RBIs.
Tyler Olson doubled in the seventh and Ryan Hammargren, Taylor Brierley and Neil Nagel added singles to help E-G-F score four runs that inning and beat Perham 8-5. Michael Kinzler pitched a complete game for E-G-F and struck out 12 batters.
B 003 000 000- 3 3 1
M 020 000 000- 2 8 2
Anderson, McNallan (3) and Buckanaga. Kraiter and Skjefte. W-Anderson. L-Kraiter. S-McNallan.
Alexandria 8, Thief River Falls 4
TRF 000 010 300- 4 5 1
A 100 100 33x- 8 14 1
Hoffard and Sanders. Backhaus, Knoblach (9) and Leary. W-Backhaus. L-Hoffard.
Fergus Falls 12, Detroit Lakes 4
FF 002 125 101-12 14 3
DL 000 310 000- 4 8 5
B. Hanson, A. Hanson (8) and Heinen. Voz, Velde (6), Cihak (6), R. Johnson (8) and McLeod. W-B. Hanson. L-Voz.
East Grand Forks 8, Perham 5
P 000 000 500- 5 4 10
EGF 010 001 42x- 8 8 3
Helmeke, Carlson (8) and Mulcahy. Kinzler and Hammargren. W-Kinzler. L-Helmeke.