Playoffs begin for Bemidji High School softball, tennis teams
The second season has arrived for two Bemidji programs and the section tournaments are just around the corner for the others.
The tennis team is the first to enter the postseason as the Lumberjacks head to Brainerd today for the opening round of the Section 8-2A meet.
BHS earned the third seed and will tangle with No. 6 St. Cloud Apollo at 9 a.m. If the Jacks prevail they will advance to a quarterfinal match against No. 3 Brainerd.
Today's other North Sub-Section pairings at Brainerd pit No. 4 Moorhead against No. 5 Alexandria. That winner will square off against top-seeded St. Cloud Tech.
The quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals where they will face the survivors of the South Sub-Section meet. If Bemidji claims both matches today it will head to Sartell May 29 for a 9 a.m. battle, most likely against Becker which is the South's top seed.
The section title match will also be played May 29 at St. Cloud Apollo.
Bolstered by a six-game winning streak to end the regular season BHS will take a 14-6 record and the second seed into the Section 8-3A tournament.
The Lumberjacks trailed only Brainerd (18-1) in the section QRF rankings as the Jacks earned 105 QRF points and the Warriors 120.2. Placing third was Big Lake with 95.6.
Those three teams, plus Alexandria, were awarded first-round playoff byes and the home field advantage in the second round.
BHS will begin its tournament 6 p.m. Wednesday at home and will tangle with either No. 7 Rocori or No. 10 Moorhead. Those two teams will square off 4 p.m. Wednesday in Bemidji and the Lumberjacks will take on the winner.
If Bemidji prevails it will return to action in the double-elimination semifinal round on Memorial Day at the home of the highest remaining seed.
Brainerd will own the home-field edge as long as it survives. If the Warriors are upset and Bemidji keeps winning, however, the Jacks would be the home team.
Section officials have imposed a charge for all fans who attend the softball tournament games, including those in Bemidji. Adult admission will be $8 while students in grades kindergarten through 12 will be charged $5.
No BHS passes will be accepted.
Bemidji took a 17-1 record into Monday's game at Detroit Lakes and the Lumberjacks will end the regular season 5 p.m. Thursday at Moorhead.
The Spuds are the only team to defeat BHS this spring as they stopped Bemidji 5-4 in the first game of a doubleheader on April 13.
Since then the Jacks have reeled off 15 consecutive wins, three of them coming over the weekend during the Des Sagedahl Wooden Bat Tournament.
Bemidji opened its weekend with a 10-7 win over Grand Forks Red River and late Friday it blanked Duluth East 10-0. In Saturday's outing BHS belted Roseau 12-2.
Thursday's game is an addition to the original schedule. Bemidji and Moorhead both lost a game due to weather and each team had Thursday free. With the playoffs set to open Memorial Day BHS and Moorhead both were looking for a way to stay sharp and they agreed to play Thursday.
"We're looking forward to playing the team that beat us early this year," said Jacks coach Mike Fogelson.
The Lumberjacks are making a splash statewide and as of Monday they owned the second best QRF rating in the state at 131.8. Only Red Wing and its 138.1 QRF, is above Bemidji.
A close third at 129.8 is Hill-Murray while Burnsville sits at 124.7 and Maple Grove at 121.7.
In the coaches poll, which is announced every Wednesday, BHS was fifth as of last week. Since that poll was announced however, the Lumberjacks have defeated West Fargo (the top team in North Dakota) 7-3 and swept the Des Sagedahl field.
"We had a good weekend," Fogelson said. "We played well in all areas. We pitched well, we scored a bunch of runs and defensively it may have been our best series of the season.
"But we can still improve and that's what we are looking to do."
Golf and track
Bemidji's girls golf team will conclude its regular season today at Detroit Lakes and the postseason will begin June 4 in Long Prairie.
The boys squad has two regular season meets remaining on its schedule, Thursday at Melrose and May 30 at Sauk Centre. Its postseason also begins June 4 at Greystone Golf Course.
The track and field teams end their campaigns today at home with the Bemidji Invitational. On June 2 they will head to Detroit Lakes for the first round of the section meet.
Section 8-3A Softball
Rocori (No. 7) vs. Moorhead (No. 10), 4 p.m. in Bemidji
Monticello (No. 6) vs. Sartell (No. 1), 4 p.m. in Big Lake
Sauk Rapids (No. 8) vs. St. Cloud Tech (No. 9), 4 p.m. in Brainerd
Elk River (No. 5) vs. St. Cloud Apollo (No. 12), 4 p.m. in Alexandria
Game 1: Brainerd (No. 1) vs. Sauk Rapids-Tech winner, 6 p.m. in Brainerd
Game 2: Alexandria (No. 4) vs. Elk River-Apollo winner, 6 p.m. in Alexandria
Game 3: Bemidji (No. 2) vs. Rocori-Moorhead winner, 6 p.m. in Bemidji
Game 4: Big Lake (No. 3) vs. Monticello-Sartell winner, 6 p.m. in Big Lake
May 28 (at highest remaining seed)
Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, noon
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, noon
Game 7: Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 loser, 2 p.m. (loser eliminated)
Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 2 p.m.
Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 4 p.m. (loser eliminated)
Game 10: Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 6 p.m.
Game 11: Repeat of Game 10, 5 p.m. (if necessary)
Section 8-2A Tennis
Today's First Round
Match 1: Bemidji (North No. 3) vs. St. Cloud Apollo (N No. 6), 9 a.m. at Brainerd
Match 2: Brainerd (N No. 2) bye
Match 3: Buffalo (South No. 4) vs. Monticello (S No. 5), 9 a.m. at Sartell
Match 4: Becker (S No. 1) bye
Match 5: St. Michael (S No. 20 bye)
Match 6: St. Cloud Tech (S No. 1) bye
Today's Second Round
Match 9: Match 1 winner vs. Brainerd, 1 p.m. at Brainerd
Match 10: Match 3 winner vs. Becker, 1 p.m. at Sartell
Match 11: Match 5 winner vs. St. Michael, 1 p.m. at Apollo
Match 12: Match 7 winner vs. Tech, 1 p.m. at Brainerd
Match 13: Match 9 winner vs. Match 10 winner, 9 a.m. at Sartell
Match 14: Match 11 winner vs. Match 12 winner, 9 a.m. at Apollo
Match 15 championship: Match 13 winner vs. Match 14 winner, noon, Apollo