Bemidji and Fergus Falls divided their District 9 VFW double header Wednesday, Fergus pulling out the opener 8-4 with a last inning rally before Bemidji took the nightcap 10-4.
The result took both out of contention for top honors in the circuit with Bemidji dropping to 10-7-1 and Fergus to 7-7.
Bemidji heads to Thief River and Moorhead Tuesday and Thursday and returns home July 24 to end play with Perham. Fergus has just begun its second round of play.
Perham will host the district meet in late July.
Bemidji wasted a day of fine hurling with some woeful defensive play, committing six errors in the opener and seven in the nightcap.
It also ran itself out of bigger innings twice in the second game.
Ryan Sullivan spaced seven hits in the first game four coming in the final inning, with all eight Fergus runs unearned.
Fergus took a 2-0 lead in the third on two errors and a ground out and added one in the fourth on a single, wild pickoff and sacrifice fly.
Bemidji got two back in the fourth when two walks around a Simon Anderson single filled the bases and brought in Logan Briese to relieve starter Todd Belland. He balked in the second run before getting the last out.
Bemidji took a 4-3 lead in the fifth when Jon Clark and John Yates singled and Sullivan boomed a triple to the left center field fence. But he was stranded at third.
Bemidji left two more on in the sixth but seemed a safe when Sullivan retired the leadoff batter in the seventh. But a hit batter and two infield errors tied the score, either of which would have ended the game.
Fergus then hit four straight singles to widen the gap.
Briese and Andrew Anderson had two hits for Fergus which ended with seven. Bemidji had only four, three in the fifth inning. Sullivan fanned two and walked none.
Bemidji took a 6-0 lead in the second inning of the nightcap and made the lead stand up despite trying hard to give runs away.
The first inning run came without hit.
Five more crossed in the second when singles by Alex Hengel and Nick Lee following a walk plated one. Yates was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Sullivan unloaded them with a grand slam over the left centerfield fence.
Lefty Keenan Humphrey worked around errors in the first three innings without allowing a run.
But two more boots around a single sent home one in the fourth.
Bemidji answered with two on Joe Trepanier's two-run single and two more in the fifth on Ty Grosfield's two-run double after Fergus had scored once.
Phil Link doubled and two walks filled the bases.
Haakon Pederson relieved to retire the next three batters with one run scoring on a sacrifice fly.
Fergus added its final two runs in the sixth on Link's second double after a double play grounder that would have ended the frame was booted for Bemidji's sixth error.
It committed its seventh in the seventh to put two runners on with two gone. But Pederson fanned the final batter to gain a save.
The two Bemidji pitchers fanned eight and walked three with Humphrey getting his first win. The two Fergus pitchers had two strikeouts and four walks. Starter Billy Koehler, who left the second, took the loss.
Fergus made a mid-game coaching change in the first game when its coach was ejected after several arguments with the umpires. Former high school coach Phil Link, who had driven up to watch his son play, was pressed into service to coach the remainder of the day.
Link was one of the final applicants for the vacant Bemidji High football position.
Anderson and Sullivan are the likely starters at Thief River which leads the circuit at 14-2. Bemidji and TRF split here early in the season.
Fergus Falls 002-100-5---8--7--3
Bemidji VFW 000-220-0---4--4--6
Belland, Briese (W) (4) and Revering
Sullivan (1-2) and Clark
Fergus Falls 000-112-0--- 4--5--1
Bemidji VFW 150-220-x---10--7--7
Oehler (L), Kvidt (2) and Duenow, Briese (3)
Humphrey (1-1), Pederson (5) (sv) and Anderson