LEGION BASEBALL: Perham rallies past Bemidji
BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Legion has been involved in many clean and crisply played baseball games this summer. Thursday’s 13-11 loss to Perham, however, was not one of them.
After spotting Perham two runs in the top of the first inning Bemidji answered with six to take a seemingly commanding lead. But five Legion errors later, Perham had rallied for the 13-11 victory.
The visitors brought only nine players to the scheduled doubleheader but in the home of the first inning centerfielder Josh Still and rightfielder Nathan Currier collided chasing a fly ball. Currier took the worst of the collision and after Perham batted in the top of the second, Currier’s coach removed him from the lineup as a precautionary move.
With no one to take Currier’s place, Perham played the rest of the game with eight players and when it reached his spot in the batting order Perham was assessed an automatic out.
Legion rules state that a team can’t begin a game with only eight players so Perham was forced to forfeit the scheduled rematch.
Seth Anderson opened on the Legion mound and yielded two runs in the opening stanza. Bemidji answered with six, however, and the key hits were RBI singles by Ryan Hirt and Anderson plus run-scoring doubles off the bats of James Hendricks and Lucas Goins.
The home team upped its cushion to 7-2 in the second when Erik Fitzgerald singled and scored courtesy of Hirt’s single to center.
Perham began its comeback in the upper third as C.J. Mulcahy ripped a two-run round tripper over the fence in left.
The visitors continued their rally in the fourth, taking a 10-7 lead with six runs.
Bemidji’s defense fell asleep in the half-inning as the Legion failed to throw to the right bases, failed to catch relays to the infield and appeared confused on what to do in certain situations.
Perham also forced the defenders into making situational baseball decisions as it received two walks and belted a pair of doubles and four singles in the inning.
Another two-run blast over the screen in left upped Perham’s advantage to 12-7 in the sixth but Bemidji mounted a comeback of its own, slicing the deficit to 12-11 with four runs in the home half of the frame.
With one out Parker Lucas and Tom Revering singled and Erik Fitzgerald doubled both runners home. After Collin Rutledge walked, Hirt’s fly ball to deep center advanced Fitzgerald to third where he could score on Hendricks’ single. Tony Geerdes capped the rally with an RBI single to right.
Perham added an insurance run in the seventh on an infield single, walk, error and single to right and the Legion came up empty in the bottom of the frame, stranding Ben Thompson at second and Fitzgerald at first.
Bemidji pounded 15 hits and leading the charge was Fitzgerald with three singles. He also scored three times and drove in a pair.
Contributing a pair of hits were Revering, Hirt, Hendricks and Geerdes.
The split gave Perham a 20-6 record while Bemidji fell to 8-10. The Legion will close its regular season Saturday with a home doubleheader against East Grand Forks. The first game will begin at 1 p.m.
The double elimination playoffs open July 24 at Perham.
Bemidji 5, Perham 1
Perham 202 602 1 - 13 15 1
Bemidji 610 004 0 - 11 15 5
Hammans, Kruzel (2, W) and Mulcahy. K-1, BB-3
S.Anderson, C.Anderson (4, L), Revering (7) and Revering, Morgan (7). K-1, ,BB-6
Bemidji wins 1-0 when Perham has to forfeit for lack of players