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VFW baseball splits with Thief River Falls

BEMIDJI -- After splitting Thursday's doubleheader against Thief River Falls the Bemidji VFW baseball team will take a 19-7 record into its final regular-season action Monday when it hosts Fergus Falls in a doubleheader that begins at 4 p.m.

At stake will be the second seed in next week's double-elimination district playoffs and a bye in the tournament's opening round.

East Grand Forks probably will be the top seed while Bemidji and Fergus Falls are in the hunt for the second seed. The other teams in the field include Detroit Lakes, Thief River Falls and Perham.

The district champion will advance to the state tournament which will begin Aug. 1 in Ely.

In Thursday's split with Thief River Falls the VFW won the opener 7-3 but dropped the rematch 3-2.

Jake Leittner had three hits and five RBIs in the first game while Dan Johnson contributed three singles.

Bemidji took a 1-0 lead in the opening inning when Nate Larson reached on an error and Johnson singled him home. The VFW added two runs in the third as Tony Geerdes and Johnson singled, Austin Weidemann walked and Leittner singled home the lead runners.

Leittner and Cam Boen had RBI singles in the fifth and Leittner plated two more teammates with his sixth-inning single.

Johnson pitched the first five innings to post the victory and Grant Carlson posted a save with two innings of relief.

Bemidji's bats were silenced in the second game, however, as Matt Morgan's RBI single in the sixth was the VFW's only hit.

Thief River Falls took a 3-0 advantage with a run in the first inning and two in the second. Bemidji scored its first run in the third when Carlson walked, Geerdes and Johnson were hit by pitches and Tarron Baker walked to force home Carlson.

In the lower sixth Baker reached on an error, Cody Anderson walked and Morgan singled.

Alex English went the distance on the mound.

Earlier this week the VFW split a twinbill at East Grand Forks, taking the opener 6-4 but dropping the nightcap 9-8.

Bemidji rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the first game, scoring two in the sixth and three in the seventh. Grant Carlson's 2-run single was the key blow in the sixth and Leittner's 2-run single highlighted the seventh.

Weidemann smacked two doubles and a single to pace the offense. Geerdes had a double and a single and Carlson belted two singles.

In the second game the VFW scored five runs in the second but East Grand Forks answered with single runs in the second and fourth and collected six runs in the fifth.

Bemidji tied the game with three in the upper sixth but the home team scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Geerdes led Bemidji's attack with four singles. Nate Larson had three singles and Weidemann added a double and a single.

Bemidji VFW

Thursday's Games

Thief River Falls 001 110 0 - 3 10 2

Bemidji 102 022 x - 7 11 2

Johnson (W), Carlson (6) (S) and Johnson. K-3, BB-5

Thief River Falls 120 000 0 - 3 5 1

Bemidji 001 001 0 - 2 1 0

English (L) and Morgan. K-5, BB-1

Tuesday's Games

Bemidji 010 002 3 - 6 8 0

East Grand Forks 100 111 0 - 4 8 0

Anderson, Morgan (60 (W) and Weidemann. K-2, BB-2

Bemidji 050 003 000 - 8 15 1

EGF 010 160 001 - 9 9 0

Parsons, Morgan (6) (L) and Weidemann. K-3, BB-9

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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