Mudcats keep title hopes alive
The Bemidji Mudcats kept their title hopes alive Sunday, sweeping a double header from Hibbing 3-2 in extra innings and 1-0 at BSU.
It lifted the Cats to 8-3 in Arrowhead League play, 10-3 if the Duluth double header cannot be rescheduled.
They have a single game with Grand Rapids and a home and home set with Nashwauk remaining.
The non-league games tonight and tomorrow with Nisswa and the Brainerd Bees have been called off when those two teams were unable to field teams for the trip north.
Manager Scott Seaton hopes to reschedule at least the Brainerd game later this season.
For baseball fans who enjoy strong pitching and solid defense, the Sunday twin bill was a joy.
The Miners looked anything except a winless last place team, holding Bemidji., in check all day .
Dan Herring went the distance in the opener and Adam Stainiger in the nightcap.
But Bemidji's hurling was a trifle better with Sam Anderson and Paul Fenner combining on a seven hitter in the first game while Tyler Norland tossed a thee hitter in the nightcap,.
Fenner and Norland each picked up his fifth win.
Bemidji took a 2-0 lead in the opener.
The Mudcats scored in the first when Tony Klaers walked, reached third on Dan Nolan's single and after hit batter filled the bases, scored as Anderson hit into a force out.
Bemidji scored again in the third when Nolan, Neil Huewe and Anderson singled to load the bases with no outs. Fenner plat4ed the run with a sacrifice fly. But Herring shut down the Cats the next five frames on three singles.
Hibbing got one run back in the fifth when Herring doubled and scored as Nick Zubich's bunt was throws into right field.
The Minters tied the score in the sixth., Dave Grabowski walked, stole second, took third on Aaron Kritz's single and scored on a ground out.
Anderson departed after six with a three hitter. Fenner allowed four the final three frames but was threatened only in the eighth.
Kritz walked with gone, took second on Andy Finco's single off Fenner's leg but was nailed at the plate trying to score on Jamie Steinberg's single to right,.
Herring then lined into a double play to end the inning.
Bemidji won in the last of the ninth when Andree Hengel singled to deep second and took second when the throw to first went wild. He moved to third on Klaers' fly to deep right but held on Nolan's to first.
But Huewe ended matters with a drive up the gap in right center to send Hengel home.
Nolan had three hits and Hengel, Huewe and Norland two in the 11-hit Bemidji attack. Finco and reserve Nick Kepler had two for the Miners.
The nightcap was even more of a mound gem as Norland and Stainiger matched zeroes from the start.
Norland fanned four and walked two and was in trouble only once.
In the sixth, Kepler singled and stole second. He took third as Chais White reached on Bemidji's lone error of the game. White stole second.
But Norland got Grabowski on a pop to second and Kritz to foul out to first. After walking Finco, he struck out Zakk Bandemer to end the frame.
Stainiger was just as strong.
He allowed only one base runner the first three frames.
In the fourth he worked around two hit batters by getting a double play in between. Phil Ronnebaum had a two out single in the fifth.
But with one gone in the sixth, Klaers caught a high fastball squarely and lofted it over the left center field fence.
That proved the difference as Norland set down the side in order in the seventh. The game was played in a snappy 87 minutes.
Ronnebaum was the only player on either team with two hits.
Bemidji will bring a 20-6-1 record to its Friday game with Nashwauk.
Grand Rapids carried a 6-2 league mark into its Sunday twin bill with the Duluth Express. scores of which have yet to be reported.