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VFW baseball team opens season opens with sweep

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VFW baseball team opens season opens with sweep
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The Bemidji VFW baseball team began its season with a pair of road victories Monday as it swept Perham 9-0 and 10-9.

The Vets are scheduled to make their home debut Thursday when they host Fergus Falls in a 4 p.m. doubleheader at BSU.

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"It was a good opener for us," said VFW coach Brad Johnson about the trip to Perham. "We did some unexpected things including hitting a home run and having Trent Baker throw a 2-hitter."

The home run came in the first game when Drew Peterson belted a 3-run shot in the sixth inning. That blast was one of 14 hits generated by the Vets in the opening-game victory.

Baker was dominant as he struck out 10 and walked only three in going the distance. The two hits he allowed were harmless singles.

"Trent threw strikes," Johnson said. "Before the game I asked the Perham coach about his team and his comment was that the one thing they did best was hit the ball. And Trent took care of that."

Bemidji scored the only run it would need in the opening stanza when Nick Hovila walked and Cody Jenkins and Ryan Hirt followed with singles.

In the fifth Peterson and Dom Hayle singled and Hovila capped the rally with a 2-run double. The Vets added three in the sixth when Nick Conner and Connor McNallan singled and Peterson belted his round-tripper.

Bemidji iced the win with three in the seventh courtesy of a walk to Hovila, Jenkins' double and RBI singles by Hirt and McNallan.

A 6-run second inning propelled the VFW to a 10-9 win in the nightcap.

"Our youth showed itself in this game," Johnson said, referencing Bemidji's seven errors and the four walks and six hit batsmen allowed by the pitchers.

"Hitting and not hitting are contagious and so is playing defense. In this game we had trouble making the plays."

After spotting Perham a 1-0 lead in the first inning the Vets seemingly took charge with six in the second.

Conner began the frame with a single and McNallan's walk and Mark Fenner's bunt single loaded the bases.

Walks to Sam Dwyer and Hayle forced in two runs and another scored courtesy of Hovila's sacrifice fly. The inning also featured Jenkins' RBI single and Hirt's 2-run single.

The VFW upped its cushion to 7-1 in the upper fourth when Hirt singled, Cody Labernick walked and McNallan delivered an RBI single.

Perham, however, used single runs in the fourth and fifth and five in the sixth to forge an 8-7 advantage.

Bemidji stayed alive with two in the upper seventh when Dwyer was hit by a pitch, Hovila singled and, after a pair of wild pitches, Jenkins delivered a sacrifice fly.

Perham forced extra innings with a solo tally in the bottom of the seventh but Bemidji pushed across the winning run in the eighth.

Baker began the rally by being hit by a pitch and he raced to third when Dwyer bunted. Hayle followed with a run-scoring single.

"After scoring six runs we gave up five but we never quit," Johnson said. "We showed that we could come back through adversity and win a game in extra innings."

McNallan earned the pitching victory with 2.2 innings of relief. Jenkins started on the Bemidji mound. The pair combined for 10 strikeouts but walked four and hit six batters.

VFW 100 023 3 - 9 14 0

Perham 000 000 0 - 0 2 1

Baker (W) and Labernick. K-10, BB-3

Ruther (L) and Pankinin. K-4, BB-2

VFW 060 100 21 - 10 10 7

Perham 100 115 10 - 9 8 0

Jenkins, McNallan (6, W 1-0) and Labernick. K-10, BB-4

Schumacher, Hein (8, L) and Pankinin. K-4, BB-9

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

The Bemidji VFW baseball team began its season with a pair of road victories Monday as it swept Perham 9-0 and 10-9.

The Vets are scheduled to make their home debut Thursday when they host Fergus Falls in a 4 p.m. doubleheader at BSU.

"It was a good opener for us," said VFW coach Brad Johnson about the trip to Perham. "We did some unexpected things including hitting a home run and having Trent Baker throw a 2-hitter."

The home run came in the first game when Drew Peterson belted a 3-run shot in the sixth inning. That blast was one of 14 hits generated by the Vets in the opening-game victory.

Baker was dominant as he struck out 10 and walked only three in going the distance. The two hits he allowed were harmless singles.

"Trent threw strikes," Johnson said. "Before the game I asked the Perham coach about his team and his comment was that the one thing they did best was hit the ball. And Trent took care of that."

Bemidji scored the only run it would need in the opening stanza when Nick Hovila walked and Cody Jenkins and Ryan Hirt followed with singles.

In the fifth Peterson and Dom Hayle singled and Hovila capped the rally with a 2-run double. The Vets added three in the sixth when Nick Conner and Connor McNallan singled and Peterson belted his round-tripper.

Bemidji iced the win with three in the seventh courtesy of a walk to Hovila, Jenkins' double and RBI singles by Hirt and McNallan.

A 6-run second inning propelled the VFW to a 10-9 win in the nightcap.

"Our youth showed itself in this game," Johnson said, referencing Bemidji's seven errors and the four walks and six hit batsmen allowed by the pitchers.

"Hitting and not hitting are contagious and so is playing defense. In this game we had trouble making the plays."

After spotting Perham a 1-0 lead in the first inning the Vets seemingly took charge with six in the second.

Conner began the frame with a single and McNallan's walk and Mark Fenner's bunt single loaded the bases.

Walks to Sam Dwyer and Hayle forced in two runs and another scored courtesy of Hovila's sacrifice fly. The inning also featured Jenkins' RBI single and Hirt's 2-run single.

The VFW upped its cushion to 7-1 in the upper fourth when Hirt singled, Cody Labernick walked and McNallan delivered an RBI single.

Perham, however, used single runs in the fourth and fifth and five in the sixth to forge an 8-7 advantage.

Bemidji stayed alive with two in the upper seventh when Dwyer was hit by a pitch, Hovila singled and, after a pair of wild pitches, Jenkins delivered a sacrifice fly.

Perham forced extra innings with a solo tally in the bottom of the seventh but Bemidji pushed across the winning run in the eighth.

Baker began the rally by being hit by a pitch and he raced to third when Dwyer bunted. Hayle followed with a run-scoring single.

"After scoring six runs we gave up five but we never quit," Johnson said. "We showed that we could come back through adversity and win a game in extra innings."

McNallan earned the pitching victory with 2.2 innings of relief. Jenkins started on the Bemidji mound. The pair combined for 10 strikeouts but walked four and hit six batters.

VFW 100 023 3 - 9 14 0

Perham 000 000 0 - 0 2 1

Baker (W) and Labernick. K-10, BB-3

Ruther (L) and Pankinin. K-4, BB-2

VFW 060 100 21 - 10 10 7

Perham 100 115 10 - 9 8 0

Jenkins, McNallan (6, W 1-0) and Labernick. K-10, BB-4

Schumacher, Hein (8, L) and Pankinin. K-4, BB-9

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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