Rain makes Cass Lake-Bena baseball team wait another day for semis
The drizzle began about 10 a.m. Tuesday and lingered throughout the rest of the morning and afternoon. By 1 p.m. puddles had formed in front of the mound, between first and second and near third base at the Bemidji State University diamond.
Waiting in the dugouts were the Cass Lake-Bena and Norman County high school teams who were scheduled to clash in the opening game of the Section 8A semifinals. The second half of the semifinals, matching Fosston and Red Lake County, was to follow.
Tournament officials gathered near home plate at game time and decided to wait one more hour before officially postponing the day's activity. When the weather did not improve by 2 p.m. the decision was made.
Tuesday's two games have been pushed back to today. CL-B will meet Norman County at 1 p.m. and Fosston will face Red Lake County at 2:30 p.m.
Those winners will meet 4 p.m. Thursday at Bemidji State for the Section 8A title.
"We'll just have to wait for another day," said Panther senior Nolan Goss. "I'd rather wait a day and play in good weather than muddle through this."
Brett Fredrickson, who hit the first home run of his career in the 11-2 sub-section victory over Nevis, agreed. He also believes that the Panthers will be ready for the challenge whenever they play.
"Our determination and drive to do well have been the keys to our season," Fredrickson said. "A couple of our games were close and it didn't look like we were going to pull them out. But we did."
An early-season 9-8 victory over Nevis was especially influential in Cass Lake-Bena's 24-0 record.
"We were down by four runs and had to come back in the bottom of the seventh to win," Fredrickson recalled. "When we won that game I knew we had the potential to go a long way this year."
Tyler Trosen, who had his scheduled pitching performance against Norman County pushed back a day, said it is easy pitching for the Panthers.
"Our defense has been incredible," Trosen said. "Defensively we make all the plays and we've had many games without an error.
"The strong defense gets us off the field and opens the door for our hitters. Offensively we are strong one through nine in the lineup and as a pitcher it is great to know that you can give up a run because your offense will get that and more back in the next inning."
Mike Hanson joins Goss, Fredrickson, Trosen and Mike Masten as seniors who will be making their fourth consecutive appearance at the section tournament.
"We all started playing baseball together when we were little and have progressed as a group," Hanson said. "Our experience should help us. We've been here before and we know what to expect. We may be a little nervous but not nearly as nervous as the other teams."
As the catcher, Masten helps anchor the defense even though he pays the price each game.
"It hurts catching these pitchers," he said. "They throw hard and I have to ice my hand after every game. But I would sacrifice anything for this team."
That approach appears to be a common thread in the CL-B dugout.
"That's the way we have been taught to play baseball," Masten said. "We play loose and we have fun but we play hard."
Section 8A Baseball
Today's Semifinals at BSU
Game 1: Cass Lake-Bena vs. Norman County, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Fosston vs. Red Lake County, 2:30 p.m.
Thursday's Final at BSU
Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 4 p.m.