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Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Pitching leads Legion to sweep of Nisswa

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sports Bemidji,Minnesota 56619 http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/1/0806/201006240624-legion-graves.jpg?itok=VnM95rXq
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Pitching leads Legion to sweep of Nisswa
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Cody Rutledge played part of the Bemidji High School baseball season with a stiff arm and when the Legion campaign began the decision was made to approach the summer with caution.

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Early in the Legion schedule Rutledge served as the designated hitter but recently he returned to his familiar position in center field.

Wednesday night at the BSU diamond in the first game of a doubleheader against Nisswa Rutledge gave convincing evidence that his arm is completely healed.

The right-hander tossed a no-hit shutout during his five innings of work and that effort powered the Legion to a 3-1 victory.

Collin Leif pitched the final two innings and allowed one run following a bunt single in the sixth, Nisswa's only hit of the contest.

In the second game Kris Berndt took center stage as he tossed a complete-game 8-0 shutout in his Legion debut.

"It was nice to get Cody back on the hill," said Legion coach Mike Fogelson. "We had him on a pitch count of 70 and he threw 68 pitches in five innings. To get through five with only 68 pitches was a great performance.

"And Kris did a fantastic job,"?Fogelson continued. "He threw a ton of strikes and had Nisswa off balance all night by working the inner and outer halves of the plate."

Runs were at a premium in Wednesday's opener as Bemidji managed only three. The first came in the opening stanza when Leif doubled and pinch-runner Tyler Follis gained third on a ground ball and scored courtesy of a passed ball.

Bemidji (8-4) added two important insurance tallies in the third on a walk to Mitch Hendricks, an error on Matt Hietala's sacrifice bunt, Lief's successful sacrifice and Rutledge's 2-run single.

Bemidji threatened in the fifth when singles by Mason Bellew and Tyler Tatro put runners on first and second with one out but a fielder's choice and a line-drive out ended that opportunity.

Nisswa (3-4) used the speed of Jack Luke to break up the no-hit bid in the sixth. Luke delivered a perfect bunt between the mound and the plate to open the frame and he gained third with a stolen base and a wild throw.

Luke eventually scored when the Legion turned a double-play.

Tatro paced Bemidji's offense with a pair of singles. Leif had a double while Hietala, Rutledge, Bellew and Jeremiah Graves had singles.

Prior to Wednesday's second game Fogelson instructed his players to score early and they promptly responded. Bemidji bolted to a 5-0 lead after the first inning and Berndt did the rest.

Consecutive one-out singles by Leif, Rutledge, Bellew, Tatro, Zach Solheim and Graves did the first-inning damage. In the third inning Tatro's double, Solheim's single and Graves' safety squeeze produced a run.

Bemidji added a run in the fourth when Hietala doubled and Bellew singled and the Legion iced the win in the fifth when Berndt's single, a walk to Leif and Rutledge's double produced a run.

"We had good pitching in both games,"?Fogelson said. "In the first game we had timely hits and in the second game we had a parade of hits. And the end result was a sweep."

Perham nightcap

In Tuesday's second game, Bemidji simply ran out of pitching, dropping a wild 12-11 decision with the tying and winning runs on base.

Facing two district games Wednesday Fogelson was forced to turn to position players to fill the gap.

Bemidji jumped to a 7-1 lead in the first on a seven-hit barrage with Cody Jenkins belting a three-run triple in his first at-bat and scoring the seventh run on a sacrifice fly.

But Perham rebounded with five in the second and, after a Bemidji run in the last of the frame, sent starter Booster Russ to cover in the third.

Mason Bellew relieved to limit that frame to two runs and an 8-8 tie.

Bellew and Perham reliever Jake Still then battled through constant trouble into the sixth still tied 8-8.

With two on and two gone in that frame, Bellew gave way to Graves who hit his first batter and walked his second to send Perham ahead.

Two damaging errors then let in three more runs for a 12-8 advantage.

Bemidji fought back with three on hits by Graves and Hietala coupled with two walks and an error. Hietala was caught stealing to end that rally.

The Legion had runners on first and second with one gone in the seventh when Shawn Stafki got the final two outs on a liner to center and a long fly to right.

The Legion had 12 hits, three by Hietala and two by Bellew, Graves and Jenkins. Perham had 15 with six players getting two.

Wednesday's First Game

Nisswa 000 001 0 - 1 1 2

Bemidji 102 000 x - 3 7 1

Flanagan (L) and Luke. K-1, BB-1

Rutledge (W 1-0), Leif (6) and Leif, Graves (6)

Wednesday's Second Game

Nisswa 000 000 0 - 0 4 2

Bemidji 501 110 x - 8 14 1

Flanagan (L), Lenz (4) and Luke. K-2, BB-2

Berndt (W 1-0) and Leif. K-1, BB-4

Tuesday's Second Game

Perham, 152 004 0 - 12 15 2

Bemidji 710 003 0 - 11 12 3

Langlie, Still (W) (2), Stafki (6) and Stoll

Russ, Bellew (L 0-1) (3), Graves (6) and Leif

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

Cody Rutledge played part of the Bemidji High School baseball season with a stiff arm and when the Legion campaign began the decision was made to approach the summer with caution.

Early in the Legion schedule Rutledge served as the designated hitter but recently he returned to his familiar position in center field.

Wednesday night at the BSU diamond in the first game of a doubleheader against Nisswa Rutledge gave convincing evidence that his arm is completely healed.

The right-hander tossed a no-hit shutout during his five innings of work and that effort powered the Legion to a 3-1 victory.

Collin Leif pitched the final two innings and allowed one run following a bunt single in the sixth, Nisswa's only hit of the contest.

In the second game Kris Berndt took center stage as he tossed a complete-game 8-0 shutout in his Legion debut.

"It was nice to get Cody back on the hill," said Legion coach Mike Fogelson. "We had him on a pitch count of 70 and he threw 68 pitches in five innings. To get through five with only 68 pitches was a great performance.

"And Kris did a fantastic job,"?Fogelson continued. "He threw a ton of strikes and had Nisswa off balance all night by working the inner and outer halves of the plate."

Runs were at a premium in Wednesday's opener as Bemidji managed only three. The first came in the opening stanza when Leif doubled and pinch-runner Tyler Follis gained third on a ground ball and scored courtesy of a passed ball.

Bemidji (8-4) added two important insurance tallies in the third on a walk to Mitch Hendricks, an error on Matt Hietala's sacrifice bunt, Lief's successful sacrifice and Rutledge's 2-run single.

Bemidji threatened in the fifth when singles by Mason Bellew and Tyler Tatro put runners on first and second with one out but a fielder's choice and a line-drive out ended that opportunity.

Nisswa (3-4) used the speed of Jack Luke to break up the no-hit bid in the sixth. Luke delivered a perfect bunt between the mound and the plate to open the frame and he gained third with a stolen base and a wild throw.

Luke eventually scored when the Legion turned a double-play.

Tatro paced Bemidji's offense with a pair of singles. Leif had a double while Hietala, Rutledge, Bellew and Jeremiah Graves had singles.

Prior to Wednesday's second game Fogelson instructed his players to score early and they promptly responded. Bemidji bolted to a 5-0 lead after the first inning and Berndt did the rest.

Consecutive one-out singles by Leif, Rutledge, Bellew, Tatro, Zach Solheim and Graves did the first-inning damage. In the third inning Tatro's double, Solheim's single and Graves' safety squeeze produced a run.

Bemidji added a run in the fourth when Hietala doubled and Bellew singled and the Legion iced the win in the fifth when Berndt's single, a walk to Leif and Rutledge's double produced a run.

"We had good pitching in both games,"?Fogelson said. "In the first game we had timely hits and in the second game we had a parade of hits. And the end result was a sweep."

Perham nightcap

In Tuesday's second game, Bemidji simply ran out of pitching, dropping a wild 12-11 decision with the tying and winning runs on base.

Facing two district games Wednesday Fogelson was forced to turn to position players to fill the gap.

Bemidji jumped to a 7-1 lead in the first on a seven-hit barrage with Cody Jenkins belting a three-run triple in his first at-bat and scoring the seventh run on a sacrifice fly.

But Perham rebounded with five in the second and, after a Bemidji run in the last of the frame, sent starter Booster Russ to cover in the third.

Mason Bellew relieved to limit that frame to two runs and an 8-8 tie.

Bellew and Perham reliever Jake Still then battled through constant trouble into the sixth still tied 8-8.

With two on and two gone in that frame, Bellew gave way to Graves who hit his first batter and walked his second to send Perham ahead.

Two damaging errors then let in three more runs for a 12-8 advantage.

Bemidji fought back with three on hits by Graves and Hietala coupled with two walks and an error. Hietala was caught stealing to end that rally.

The Legion had runners on first and second with one gone in the seventh when Shawn Stafki got the final two outs on a liner to center and a long fly to right.

The Legion had 12 hits, three by Hietala and two by Bellew, Graves and Jenkins. Perham had 15 with six players getting two.

Wednesday's First Game

Nisswa 000 001 0 - 1 1 2

Bemidji 102 000 x - 3 7 1

Flanagan (L) and Luke. K-1, BB-1

Rutledge (W 1-0), Leif (6) and Leif, Graves (6)

Wednesday's Second Game

Nisswa 000 000 0 - 0 4 2

Bemidji 501 110 x - 8 14 1

Flanagan (L), Lenz (4) and Luke. K-2, BB-2

Berndt (W 1-0) and Leif. K-1, BB-4

Tuesday's Second Game

Perham, 152 004 0 - 12 15 2

Bemidji 710 003 0 - 11 12 3

Langlie, Still (W) (2), Stafki (6) and Stoll

Russ, Bellew (L 0-1) (3), Graves (6) and Leif

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

Nisswa's Jack Luke successfully steals second base during Wednesday's game against the Bemidji Legion, sliding under Jeremiah Graves' tag.

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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