Northern Heat gains winner's bracket final
Bemidji's Northern Heat took its second step forward toward a hoped for trip to the Cal Ripken World Series by shading Yankton, S.D. 5-4 Saturday morning in a makeup game.
The 12-year-old regional is being played at Kalona, Iowa.
It was a replay of the Friday night contest that was rained out.
The day-long rainstorm left the tournament well behind schedule.
Grand Forks beat Kansas in the second semifinal Saturday to become Bemidji's opponent in the late night game.
That winner moves to a 2 p.m. game today against the losers' bracket champ.
He loser moves to a noon game today for the second berth in the final.
Should a second game be needed, it will take place Monday noon.
Bemidji defeated Mineral Springs, Mo. 4-3 in its opener. Yankton turned back Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 11-1.
In the lower bracket, Kansas won over Colorado 13-3 and Grand Forks stopped Tri County South of Iowa 9-2.
Losers' bracket openers saw Missouri eliminate Mt. Pleasant 16-0 and Colorado oust Tri County 10-7.
Kansas faced Missouri and South Dakota took on Colorado in the second round. Those two winners then met prior to the Bemidji-Grand Forks contest.
The Warriors are no stranger to the Heat, having beaten Bemidji 15-3 for its only loss at the Coca Cola Classic here two weeks ago.
James Swiggum, who stopped Missouri, will get the start.
He did not pitch in the previous game against the No. Dakota champs.
Bemidji never trailed in Saturday's opener, taking 1-0, 2-1 and 5-2 leads before holding off the Yankton comeback in the fifth.
Tarron Baker and Tony Geerdes combined on a five hitter with Geerdes taking over in the fourth to get the win.
Bemidji scored in the second on Nick Leitner's single, a sacrifice and one baggers by Erik Fitzgerald and Baker.
Yankton evened the score in the third on a walk, sacrifice and single
Bemidji went back ahead in its turn at bat when Cam Boen singled, pinch runner Dylan Parsons moved to second and third on passed balls and scored on a Leitner single.
Yankton tied the game again in the fourth on a walk, stolen base, passed ball and single.
But in the Bemidji fourth, Grant Carlson walked, Leitner had his third single and Fitzgerald clear4d the fence with his second home run of the tournament.
Yankton cut the deficit to one in the fifth on a walk and two-run homer.
But Geerdes slammed the door at this point and preserved the win .
Leitner and Fitzgerald were the only Heat players with more than one hit.
Yankton, S.D. 001-120---4--5--3
Northern Heat 011-30x---5--7--2
Heine, Healy (4) and Danielson
Baker, Geerdes (w) (4) and Boen, Kapaun (4)