Legion opens district meet with a rematch
During the second round of the Section 8-3A baseball playoffs Bemidji trailed Big Lake 6-1 after two innings.
The tournament format featured single elimination at this phase and if Bemidji's fortunes didn't change the Lumberjacks would see their season come to an end.
BHS, which defeated St. Cloud Tech earlier in the day during the first round, didn't panic. It scored a run in the third and another in the fourth to draw within 6-3.
The comeback continued and in the sixth inning the Jacks took a 7-6 lead on way to what would become an 8-7 victory.
The win propelled Bemidji into the state high school tournament and that triumph was among the most memorable highlights of a fine campaign.
Big Lake, however, most likely has a different take on that outcome.
Today in the first round of the District 6 Legion tournament in St. Cloud Bemidji and Big Lake will stage a rematch. The game is set for 11 a.m. at Faber Field and the winner will be a step closer to earning a berth in the state meet.
Bemidji will also be in action 5 p.m. today and will play Cold Spring or St. Cloud. If the Legion wins its opener it will tangle with the Cold Spring-St. Cloud winner but a loss to Big Lake would drop Bemidji into an elimination game against the St. Cloud-Cold Spring loser.
The tournament is designed as a double-elimination affair and the two teams that make it to the championship game will advance to the state meet which is July 29-Aug. 1 at Eden Prairie.
The Legion is familiar with most of the teams in the district tournament, having faced them either during the high school or the Legion campaigns.
"Every team in this tournament is good and deserves to be here," Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson said. "We won the section tournament in St. Cloud against many of these same teams but I don't see that as an advantage.
"I do think we have as good a shot as anybody because we've had a good summer season. But this is a well balanced field and to challenge for the district title you will have to play solid baseball," Fogelson added.
Big Lake is 26-4 while Bemidji is 22-4. Trent Baker has been the winning pitcher in one-third of Bemidji's victories and he will take his 8-0 record to the mound today.
Zach Solheim (1-2) is slated to start the 5 p.m. contest.
District 6 Legion Tournament
Double Elimination at St. Cloud
Game 1: Bemidji vs. Big Lake, 11 a.m., Faber Field
Game 2: Cold Spring vs. St. Cloud Chutes, 11 a.m., Putz Field
Game 3: Sauk Rapids vs. Albany, 2 p.m., Faber
Game 4: Brainerd vs. Waite Park, 2 p.m., Putz
Game 5: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 5 p.m., Faber (loser eliminated)
Game 6: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m., Putz
Game 7: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 8 p.m., Faver (loser eliminated)
Game 8: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 8 p.m., Putz
Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser, noon, Faber (loser eliminated)
Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 6 loser, noon, Putz (loser eliminated)
Game 11: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 7 p.m. Putz
Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 7 p.m., Faber, (loser eliminated)
Game 13: Game 12 winner vs. Game 11 loser, noon, Putz (loser eliminated)
Game 14: Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 6 p.m., Putz (both teams qualify for state tournament)
Game 15: Repeat of Game 14, noon, Putz (if necessary)