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Legion swept again

Michael Kinzler, top, of East Grand Forks is upended by Bemidji’s Conner McNallan as he reaches second safely on a fielders choice in the second game of a Legion doubleheader Tuesday in East Grand Forks. EGF swept Bemidji 6-1 and 10-5. JOHN STENNES | FORUM NEWS SERVICE1 / 2
Neil Nagle, right, of East Grand Forks is tagged out in a rundown between second and third by Bemidji’s Parker Lucas in the first inning of the second game of a Legion baseball doubleheader Tuesday in East Grand Forks. JOHN STENNES | FORUM NEWS SERVICE2 / 2

By Tom Miller, Grtand Forks Herald

EAST GRAND FORKS -- The Fourth of July break is always a concern for American Legion baseball coaches.

How will the players respond after a few days of vacation?

On Tuesday at Stauss Park, Bemidji showed signs of rust and East Grand Forks scored five runs in its first half inning.

EGF rode the early burst to a 6-1, 10-5 sweep of Bemidji in both teams' first games back from the holiday vacation.

"I was a little nervous to see how we'd hit," EGF coach Erik Gyolai said. "Yesterday's practice was pretty relaxed and everyone hit on their own, so I didn't know. But they came out and pounded the ball."

EGF jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first inning of the first game thanks to a string of doubles from Neil Nagle, Michael Kinzler and Caleb Wavra.

Nagle, who's hitting .414 on the year, continued the barrage throughout the doubleheader, going 5-for-7 with two doubles, a home run and four runs batted in. The line-drive homer to left field in the fourth inning of the first game was his third of the season.

"East Grand Forks came out and swung it really well," Bemidji coach Nate Blumhagen said. "It took us awhile to get going again. I think we came out a little flat with the week break. We were shaking off the rust. We dug ourselves too deep of a hole."

EGF starter Michael Kinzler left his team plenty of breathing room after being spotted the five-run lead.

Kinzler tossed all seven innings, scattering nine hits. He struck out five and walked two.

"Both guys (EGF) threw today were spotting up and throwing hard," Blumhagen said. "They were hitting corners and made it hard on us to hit anything hard. Runs were tough to come by for us today."

EGF's Game 2 starter, Tyler Olson, continued where Kinzler left off. Olson went the distance, as well, striking out seven and walking one. He allowed six hits and four of his five earned runs came in the seventh.

"Tyler got a little tired at the end there, but he was coming off a week of rest, too," Gyolai said.

Olson had plenty of run-support, too. EGF scored in all six of its offensive frames in the second game.

East Grand Forks built its distance in the second game with a two-run fourth inning for a 5-0 lead -- keyed by Hunter Aubol's two-out, two-RBI single.

The sweep improved East Grand Forks to 9-2 in its last 11 games after starting the year 4-8.

"I don't know what it is, but the guys have been seeing the ball and hitting it well lately," Gyolai said. "It all started at the EGF Classic, and we kept the momentum from that."

Bemidji is now 6-10 overall and will travel to Minneapolis this weekend for the Gopher Classic tournament.

First Game

East Grand Forks 6, Bemidji 1

Bemidji 001 000 0 -- 1 9 0

EGF 500 010 x -- 6 8 0

WP -- Michael Kinzler; LP -- Conner McNallan

Highlights -- EGF: Neil Nagle 2x3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2B, HR, Caleb Wavra 1x3, 3 RBIs, 2B; B: Erik Fitzgerald 3x4, Nick Hovila 2x3, Parker Lucas 2x3

Second game

East Grand Forks 10, Bemidji 5

Bemidji 000 001 4 -- 5 6 4

EGF 111 223 x -- 10 8 0

WP -- Tyler Olson; LP -- Gabe Salander

Highlights -- EGF: Hunter Aubol 2x4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, Neil Nagle 3x4, 2B, 2 RBIs, Joey Scanlan 1x2, 2 runs

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