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VFW basebal team drops pair at tournament

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sports Bemidji, 56619
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The Bemidji VFW baseball team tested itself against Legion competition Friday as the Vets played in the Montgomery Memorial tournament in Grand Forks.

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Although Bemidji dropped both starts, coach Brad Johnson believes the games will provide lasting benefits.

"Our main goal isn't to win the tournament," Johnson said. "Our goal is to improve and playing against older kids and the good competition we face in this tournament will help us get better."

During Friday's action Bemidji lost 9-7 to Manitoba and 6-5 in eight innings to Beulah, N.D. The first game was called after six innings because of the 2-hour time limit.

The Vets had a day off on Saturday but today they will play at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. Which teams they will face wasn't known until the end of Saturday's late action.

Friday's opener against Manitoba saw Bemidji yield six runs in the opening inning and three more in the third. The Vets scored one in the lower third and struck for six in the fifth to draw within 9-7.

Neither team scored in the sixth and officials called the game because of the time limit.

"We were rallying and if we would have had one more inning we might have caught them," Johnson said. "But we learned a valuable lesson. You can't give good teams so many runs early in the game and expect to come back and win the game."

The VFW committed four errors and the miscues led to eight unearned runs. All six runs in the opening stanza were unearned and another error helped Manitoba score three in the third.

Bemidji's third-inning run resulted from a walk to Dom Hayle and Ryan Hirt's double.

Hayle also started the fifth-inning rally with a single. After Cody Jenkins was hit by a pitch and Hirt drew a walk to load the bases, walks to Nick Conner and Billy Baumgartner forced home runs.

Drew Peterson promptly unloaded them when he blasted a grand slam home run to left.

Hirt took the mound loss and Peterson worked 3.1 innings in relief.

Against Beulah Bemidji forged a 5-1 lead only to see Beulah score four runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and notch the game-winner in the eighth.

The Vets collected solo runs in each of the first three innings, Hirt plating Nick Hovila with a groundout in the opening stanza, Hovila scoring Peterson with a single in the second and Jenkins driving home Baker in the third with a single.

Bemidji added two runs in the seventh as Peterson reached on an error, Connor McNallan singled him home and, after a pair of passed balls and a walk to Mitch Buckanaga, McNallan scored when Buckanaga intentionally was caught in a run-down.

Beulah staged the tying rally with two outs in its half of the seventh as a single, walk, a pair of hit batters, another walk and a single combined for four runs.

The North Dakota team rode that momentum into the eighth inning and notched the game-winner when a single, stolen base, wild pitch, a pair of intentional walks and a high fly ball that dropped among the defenders combined for a run.

Winnipeg 603 000 - 9 9 1

Bemidji VFW 001 060 - 7 4 4

Palidoor (W), Vegund (5) and Yestram. K-5, BB-6

Hirt (L), Peterson (3) and Buckanaga

NOTE: Game was called after six innings because of the 2-hour time limit.

Bemidji VFW 111 000 20 - 5 12 1

Beulah, ND 000 001 41 - 6 9 3

McNallan, Baker (L) (7) and Buckanaga. K-4, BB-7

Schmidt (W) and Zacher. K-3, BB-3

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

The Bemidji VFW baseball team tested itself against Legion competition Friday as the Vets played in the Montgomery Memorial tournament in Grand Forks.

Although Bemidji dropped both starts, coach Brad Johnson believes the games will provide lasting benefits.

"Our main goal isn't to win the tournament," Johnson said. "Our goal is to improve and playing against older kids and the good competition we face in this tournament will help us get better."

During Friday's action Bemidji lost 9-7 to Manitoba and 6-5 in eight innings to Beulah, N.D. The first game was called after six innings because of the 2-hour time limit.

The Vets had a day off on Saturday but today they will play at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. Which teams they will face wasn't known until the end of Saturday's late action.

Friday's opener against Manitoba saw Bemidji yield six runs in the opening inning and three more in the third. The Vets scored one in the lower third and struck for six in the fifth to draw within 9-7.

Neither team scored in the sixth and officials called the game because of the time limit.

"We were rallying and if we would have had one more inning we might have caught them," Johnson said. "But we learned a valuable lesson. You can't give good teams so many runs early in the game and expect to come back and win the game."

The VFW committed four errors and the miscues led to eight unearned runs. All six runs in the opening stanza were unearned and another error helped Manitoba score three in the third.

Bemidji's third-inning run resulted from a walk to Dom Hayle and Ryan Hirt's double.

Hayle also started the fifth-inning rally with a single. After Cody Jenkins was hit by a pitch and Hirt drew a walk to load the bases, walks to Nick Conner and Billy Baumgartner forced home runs.

Drew Peterson promptly unloaded them when he blasted a grand slam home run to left.

Hirt took the mound loss and Peterson worked 3.1 innings in relief.

Against Beulah Bemidji forged a 5-1 lead only to see Beulah score four runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and notch the game-winner in the eighth.

The Vets collected solo runs in each of the first three innings, Hirt plating Nick Hovila with a groundout in the opening stanza, Hovila scoring Peterson with a single in the second and Jenkins driving home Baker in the third with a single.

Bemidji added two runs in the seventh as Peterson reached on an error, Connor McNallan singled him home and, after a pair of passed balls and a walk to Mitch Buckanaga, McNallan scored when Buckanaga intentionally was caught in a run-down.

Beulah staged the tying rally with two outs in its half of the seventh as a single, walk, a pair of hit batters, another walk and a single combined for four runs.

The North Dakota team rode that momentum into the eighth inning and notched the game-winner when a single, stolen base, wild pitch, a pair of intentional walks and a high fly ball that dropped among the defenders combined for a run.

Winnipeg 603 000 - 9 9 1

Bemidji VFW 001 060 - 7 4 4

Palidoor (W), Vegund (5) and Yestram. K-5, BB-6

Hirt (L), Peterson (3) and Buckanaga

NOTE: Game was called after six innings because of the 2-hour time limit.

Bemidji VFW 111 000 20 - 5 12 1

Beulah, ND 000 001 41 - 6 9 3

McNallan, Baker (L) (7) and Buckanaga. K-4, BB-7

Schmidt (W) and Zacher. K-3, BB-3

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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