BEMIDJI?-- Senior outfielder Cody Rutledge of the Bemidji High School baseball team had a game of a lifetime in Thursday's 15-1 win over Moorhead at the BSU Baseball Field.
"Cody's been a four-year starter for us," Bemidji head coah Mike Fogelson said. "He has been one of our best hitters every year and is going to have his best year this year. Right now he is pretty much an impossible out at the plate."
He went 4 for 4 with three home runs, a double and nine runs batted in. The three home runs tie a school record set back in the 1970s.
"I don't know what to say, it just happened," Rutledge said with a laugh. "The pitchers seemed to be throwing everything right down the middle and I was making solid contact."
Through four games Rutledge is 12 for 15 -- an average of .800 -- with three homers, three doubles, a triple, 11 RBI and 12 runs scored.
He leads the state in batting average, home runs, runs scored and runs driven in.
Offense should not be a problem for the Lumberjacks, who have scored 40 runs in their first four games. The lack of experience on the mound was a question mark coming in for Bemidji, but the staff has allowed only 14 runs.
"We want to be good at everything," Fogelson said. "Pitching is always where it starts and we are going to get better on the mound with every game. Having guys like Cody and the rest of our offense will help our pitchers get comfortable on the mound."
Rutledge, one of the nine seniors on the team, says that the team's goal is to win the state championship.
"It is a lofty goal," Fogelson said. "We went there last year for both high school and Legion, so we know what it takes to win it."
"The one thing there is on a championship team is that there are not any weaknesses," Fogelson said. "Right now we are working on eliminating weaknesses. If we can keep improving all year long, we feel like it is a goal that is very attainable."
With Rutledge's hot bat leading the 3-1 start and the experience of making the state tournament last season, nothing is out of reach for Bemidji.
"After getting there last year, this is the year we want to bring it all together and win it," Rutledge said. "We just have to keep building on this strong start to the season by staying consistent with what we are doing."
Moorhead won Thursday's first game 5-4.
The Jacks return to action Friday at Big Lake. They will play at Eagan and Minneapolis South on April 21.
Moorhead 102 001 1 - 5 8 3
Bemidji 201 010 0 - 4 7 3
Rahman, Danielson (6) and Quaife. Jenkins, Hendricks (6) and Leif. W-Danielson. L-Hendricks.
Moorhead 000 01 - 1 1 2
Bemidji 525 3x - 15 13 2
Porter, Honl (3), Weiser (3) and Quaife. Peterson and Leif. W-Peterson. L-Porter. HR-B, Rutledge 3 HR.