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This Week at Bemidji High School: Spring teams make final pushes for favorable section seeds

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The dreary weather continues to impact the Bemidji High School spring sports programs and Monday’s cancellations of the boys home tennis meet against Crookston and the home softball game against International Falls were the latest in a long line of casualties.

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Rearranging schedules have been the norm and not the exception for the Lumberjacks spring sports programs but as we reach the middle of May there are very few options when it comes to making up a lost contest.

It is likely that Monday’s softball game will not be rescheduled as BHS is entering its final week of the regular season. After splitting at Fargo North on Saturday, taking the opener 15-4 but dropping the nightcap 11-8, the Jacks took an 8-8 record into this week’s action. Monday’s game and Thursday’s home doubleheader against Grand Rapids were supposed to be the team’s final tuneups for the Section 8-3A tournament which begins May 21. They also represented the last opportunities to gain ground in the section QRF rankings.

Section 8-3A will use the QRF to determine its playoff seedings and currently Bemidji is seventh among the 12 teams. Brainerd rules the roost with a QRF of 61.6 while Detroit Lakes is second (56.7), Big Lake third (51.2) and Becker fourth (47.6).

The Lumberjacks own a 39.8 QRF and are a shade behind sixth-place Alexandria (41.9) and a little above No. 8 St. Cloud Tech (37.9).

The playoff format sees the top four seeds hosting the first and second-round games and automatically qualifying for the double-elimination portion of the tournament. If the current seedings hold, Bemidji would face No. 10 Monticello in a win-or-go-home game. That game would be played at the home of the No. 2 seed (Detroit Lakes) and the Lakers would tangle with the 7-10 winner in the second round.

The 8-3A softball playoffs will continue on May 26 and the champion will be crowned on May 28.

Bemidji’s baseball team also is nearing the end of its regular season and the terrible weather has limited the Lumberjacks to only 12 games. They will play three more this weekend when the Jacks host the annual Des Sagedahl Wooden Bat Tournament and next week the regular season will conclude with Monday’s game at Detroit Lakes and a home doubleheader with Brainerd on May 22.

BHS (10-2) was scheduled to visit Grand Forks Central for a doubleheader yesterday but last week the GFC officials notified Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson that they were scrubbing the twinbill so that Central could reschedule a conference game that had been a weather victim.

Fogelson spent all weekend unsuccessfully trying to find a replacement game but his search goes on. A team can play 20 regular season games and, if the Jacks don’t find any takers, they will finish with only 17.

During the Sagedahl tourney Bemidji will play three games. Friday’s schedule sees the Jacks tangling with Grand Forks Red River at 6:30 p.m. and Duluth East at 9 p.m. On Saturday they will end the Sagedahl against Roseau at 3 p.m.

The tournament begins at 4 p.m. on Friday when Roseau will battle Duluth East. Saturday’s slate also sees Red River facing Roseau at 10 a.m. and Duluth East facing Red River at 12:30 p.m.

Every game and every win is important as BHS was seventh in the QRF as of Monday morning with a 44.6 rating. But the race for a top-four placement is very tight. St. Cloud Apollo entered the week in fourth with a 48.5 QRF. St. Cloud Tech was fifth at 45.8 and St. Michael-Albertville was sixth at 44.8.

Alexandria held the top spot with a 64.1 QRF, Brainerd was second (61.6) and Monticello third (51.1).

Earlier this spring the Lumberjacks split at Alexandria, winning 4-2 and losing 4-3. They didn’t play Monticello but will close the regular season next week against Brainerd.

Tennis coach Mark Fodness also has had to piecemeal the season and Monday’s cancellation of the home meet against Crookston was the latest in a spring of cancellations or postponements.

If the weather clears the Lumberjacks will host Thief River Falls today at 2 p.m. and Moorhead at 5 p.m., entertain Brainerd 4 p.m. Wednesday, head to Grand Rapids on Thursday and take on Fergus Falls and Park Rapids Friday in Park Rapids. A hectic week to say the least.

Those matches will conclude the regular season. The Section 8-2A tournament will begin on May 20.

Bemidji’s track and field teams were shorthanded at Friday’s section True Team meet because some of the athletes were taking advance placement tests. The Jacks will have one final meet before the 8-2A competition on May 28 and that will be next Monday when they host their annual meet at the high school.

The golf teams have a few weeks to prepare for their section meets which will be May 27-28 at Greystone in Sauk Centre.

The girls have three contests this week, playing at Blueberry Pines today and at Fergus Falls on Friday and Saturday. The boys team visits St. Cloud on Thursday, Longbow Friday and Headwaters near Park Rapids on Saturday.

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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