Northern Heat 12-year-old baseball team places second in Cal Ripken regional
Bemidji's Northern Heat bowed in the championship game Sunday at the Cal Ripken 12-year-old regional tournament at Kalona, Iowa.
The Heat, beaten in the winners' bracket final by the Grand Forks Warriors 13-0 Saturday night, came back to stop Yankton, S.D. 10-3 Sunday in the loser's bracket final.
But Grand Forks proved just as tough again, winning 12-2 in four innings.
In three games against Bemidji this year, Grand Forks outscored the Heat 40-5.
The North Dakota team advanced to the national tournament Aug. 12-19 in North Carolina.
In Saturday's game, Bemidji managed only three hits off two Warriors hurlers, singles by Tony Geerdes, Nick Leitner and Grant Carlson.
Grand Forks opened with six in the first and added five in the second to put the game away. The winners had 12 hits off three Bemidji hurlers, Geerdes hurling a scoreless fourth.
Sunday morning it was a different story as Bemidji broke a scoreless tie with three in the third and added four in the fourth for a 7-0 lead and coasted home.
James Swiggum, with last inning relief from Geerdes, set down the South Dakota champions on five hits.
Leitner and Geerdes doubled in the third with Erik Fitzgerald plating Geerdes with a single. He took third when his hit got through the center fielder and scored on Garret Atterberry's single
In the fourth Carlson singled and Leitner cashed him with a home run. After a walk, Fitzgerald doubled and Tarron Baker and Cameron Boen singled.
The final three scored in the fifth when Josh Cervenka reached on an error, Carlson singled and Leitner boomed a three-run homer.
Leitner ended with three hits and Carlson and Fitzgerald two.
But they managed only six against the Warriors in the title game as Grand Forks scored three times in the first and second and closed out the game with five in the fourth.
Fitzgerald singled in the third and again reached third when the ball got through the center fielder. Atterberry cashed him with an infield out.
Cervenka provided the final run in the fourth with a solo home run.
Grand Forks had 14 hits, including four home runs.
Bemidji ended its fine season 36-12. Most of its players will advance to the Middle School 8th grade ranks next spring.
"You have to be pleased with the season," said assistant coach Bruce Dahlin "We were the second best team in an eight-state area."
Grand Forks 552 0 - 13 12 0
Northern Heat 000 0 - 0 3 3
Montgomery, Ripplinger (3) and Manske, Miller (3)
Swiggum, Fitzgerald (2), Geerdes (4) and Boen, Kapaun (3)
Northern Heat 003 430 - 10 11 2
Yankton, S.D. 000 102 - 3 5 3
Swiggum, Geerdes (5), Baker (6) and Boen, Kapaun (4), Boen (6)
Fricke, Martin (4) and Hailey
Northern Heat 001 1 - 2 6 3
Grand Forks 331-5 - 12 14 2
Baker, Fitzgerald (3) and Boen
Hennessey, and Manske