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BASEBALL: Bemidji Legion splits with Thief River Falls, earns first win

Bemidji Legion Post 14 pitcher Collin Rutledge tosses a pitch during the second game of a doubleheader against Thief River Falls. Bemidji won 10-4 in the second game for its first game of the season. Jack Hittinger | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 2
Bemidji second baseman Parker Lucas flips the ball to first base to nab a Thief River Falls runner for an out during the second game of their doubleheader Saturday afternoon.2 / 2

BEMIDJI — After a poor offensive performance in the first game of their doubleheader, the Bemidji Legion Post 14 baseball team rallied for a 10-6 win over Thief River Falls Post 117 Saturday afternoon at the Bemidji State baseball diamond.

“It took a little while for us to settle in,” Bemidji head coach Nathan Blumhagen said. “Hitting was contagious once we got into the second game.”

In the first game, Thief River Falls topped Bemidji 2-0 and held Post 14 to just two hits.

Mitch Buckanaga pitched all seven innings of the game for Bemidji struck out six, but took the tough-luck loss.

“He pitched a gem, but we got two-hit,” Blumhagen said. “We just showed up a little flat today.”

Tom Revering and Nick Hovila had the only hits for Bemidji in the game, both singles.

In the second game of the afternoon, it appeared as though things would keep getting tougher for Bemidji, which had lost its first four games of the season.

Thief River Falls scored three runs in the first inning off Bemidji starter Collin Rutledge, but Bemidji answered in the bottom half of the inning with four runs.

Hovila’s two-out double kickstarted the Bemidji offense.

From there, Post 14 had a double, a single, a hit batsman, a walk, a single and a wild pitch to take a 4-3 lead.

Thief River Falls pushed across a run in the top of the second to tie the game at 4-4, but that didn’t stop Bemidji’s momentum.

Bemidji scored two runs in the third, two more in the fourth and two in the fifth to take a 10-4 lead.

Thief River Falls scored twice in the top of the seventh but Rutledge didn’t allow the Bandits back into the game and held on for the win.

Bemidji ended the game with 14 hits and committed three errors; Tyler Geerdes had three hits for Bemidji while Revering, Holiva and Parker Lucas each had two hits.

Rutledge pitched the full seven innings and gave up six runs on seven hits but three runs were unearned. He struck out four and walked four.

Bemidji will travel to St. Cloud starting Thursday for the St. Cloud Chutes Legion Tournament.

Post 14, now 1-4, will take on the St. Cloud 76ers, Rodgers and Tri-City in the round-robin portion of the tournament.

Thief River Falls 2, Bemidji 0

Thief River Falls 000 200 0 – 2 4 0

Bemidji 000 000 0 – 0 2 2

Bemidji 10, Thief River Falls 6

Thief River Falls 310 000 2 – 6 8 1

Bemidji 402 220 0 – 10 14 3

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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