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Bemidji Legion upsets East Grand Forks

MOORHEAD -- Bemidji's Collin Rutledge did work on the mound Thursday and it paid off with a first-round win at the Minnesota Sub-state American Legion baseball tournament.

Rutledge, a lefty, pitched a complete game and drove in two runs in the seventh inning to beat No. 2-seeded East Grand Forks 10-1 at Matson Field in Moorhead

On the mound, Rutledge gave up two hits, struck out eight and walked the first two batters he faced.

"Collin has really stepped up on the mound," Bemidji head coach Nate Blumhagen said. "He's really stepped forward as our ace and has been our guy all summer to pitch against the teams and today he showed up at the best time to throw his best game."

At the plate he finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and scored two runs.

Erik Fitzgerald and Conner McNallan led off the seventh with back-to-back singles for No. 7-seeded Bemidji before advancing a base off Lucas Goins' sacrifice bunt. Thomas Revering followed with a one-run single to score McNallan and Rutledge cleared the bases with his second hit of the game to go up 7-0.

"It felt really good knowing we were the underdog and coming out beating them so bad," Rutledge said. "We had the whole team going today."

McNallan finished with three singles and Parker Lucas added a double in the ninth to total 12 hits for Bemidji.

The trouble began for EGF in the second inning.

Rutledge reached on a single hit deep to left center field and Mitch Buckanaga walked to put runners on first and second. Tyler Geerdes followed with what was intended to be a sacrifice bunt, but an errant throw to first put Buckanaga at third and allowed Rutledge to score the go-ahead run.

"We had a lot of guys getting their pitch and making the pitcher come to them and that's the reason I think we were able to put up 10 runs today," Blumhagen said. "We came here and this is what we expected to do. This is what we've been working to all year so it feels good to come here and do what we feel like we should."

Shortstop Hunter Aubel scored the run for EGF off a sacrifice fly hit by first baseman Neil Nagle. Nagle and Scott Mortenson had the only two hits for EGF.

Bemidji stays in the winners' bracket and will play either No. 3 Moorhead or No. 6 Perham today at 7 p.m. The loser of that game will play EGF at 1 p.m. today.

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Rutledge and Buckanaga.

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