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VFW baseball team set to open district playoffs

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The regular season has come to an end and the Bemidji VFW baseball team is now focusing on the double-elimination district tournament.

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The Vets begin their postseason 10 a.m. today against either fourth-rated Fergus Falls or fifth-ranked Detroit Lakes. Those teams met Thursday and the winner will earn the right to face Bemidji which is the top-seeded team in the field.

Thursday's other preliminary matchup saw No. 3 Moorhead tangling with No. 6 East Grand Forks. That winner will play second-ranked Perham today.

Bemidji will take a 22-4 overall record into today's contest and is 20-0 against the five district foes.

"Anything can happen in the postseason and the first game is the key," Bemidji coach Brad Johnson said. "I'm confident that we will play well because our pitchers have been throwing strikes, our defense has been making the plays and our bats have been strong all year. But we have to continue to play that way this weekend."

Johnson will have his pick of a tested mound staff but he is leaning toward pitching Drew Peterson in today's game. All of his pitchers, however, are expected to see duty during the tournament.

"We have enough pitching," Johnson said. "Our job now is to determine the best match-ups. Everybody will be on call."

A pitcher is restricted to nine innings during the district tournament so playing a minimum of games on way to the championship is important.

"And if you throw one pitch in an inning it is considered a complete inning," Johnson said.

The coach is confident that the Vets can do well but he also knows that anything less than a determined effort would prove costly.

"The only team that is able to beat us is us," Johnson said. "We have to be playing at our peak to set us up for what we want to do."

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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