Bemidji Blue Ox wins league playoff title
BEMIDJI – The Bemidji Blue Ox men’s amateur baseball team came through the loser’s bracket Saturday to capture the Lake and Pine playoff championship and earn the top seed in the regional playoffs which will be held next weekend in Ada.
After losing to the Cass Lake Reds on July 20 the Blue Ox dropped into the elimination rounds and needed to survive three games to capture the crown.
The run began with a 3-2 victory over Nevis and Bemidji followed that performance with 4-0 and 8-2 wins over Cass Lake.
The Blue Ox and the Reds both qualify for the region tournament. The top two teams from the region will advance to the state tournament.
In Saturday’s victory over Nevis Andrew Nissen pitched the full nine innings and he allowed only five hits.
Bemidji trailed much of the way as Nevis scored a single run in the first and one more in the fourth.
The Blue Ox began its comeback with two in the sixth on Matt Baier’s single, two Nevis errors and Chris Conway’s single.
Bemidji tallied the winning run in the seventh when Nick Lee walked and Matt Schneider and Nissen hit back-to-back singles.
Chris Conway had two hits and Sam Dwyer a triple to pace the offense.
Ryan Sander tossed the shutout in the 4-0 win over Cass Lake while Mike Hanson took the loss, also with a complete-game performance.
Bemidji scored all of its runs in the fifth and Duane Biehn started the inning with a single.
Dwyer followed with a single and a walk to Joel Conway loaded the bases.
Biehn scored on a passed ball and, after Baier was hit by a pitch, Shawn Whiting delivered a two-run single. Baier later scored on a wild pitch.
Dwyer had two of Bemidji’s five hits.
In the title game Sander pitched the first four innings and Matt Schneider earned the win with five innings of relief.
The Blue Ox took control early with three runs in the first inning. The key hits were Biehn’s RBI single and Sol Schneider’s two-run single.
Baier singled and scored in the second and the Blue Ox put the game away with four in the sixth. Biehn had an RBI single and Sol Schneider a two-run double to lead the way.
Sander ripped three hits while Biehn and Sol Schneider had two.
Lake and Pine Playoffs
Nevis 100 100 000 – 2 5 2
Blue Ox 000 002 10x – 3 7 0
Stenberg, Sandberg (L) (7) and Mortenson. K-5, BB-4
Nissen (W) and C.Conway. K-4, BB-6
Cass Lake 000 000 000 – 0 4 1
Blue Ox 000 040 00x – 4 5 2
Hanson (L) and Humphrey. K-7, BB-2
Sander (W) and C.Conway. K-10, BB-1
Cass Lake 000 100 001 – 2 5 2
Blue Ox 310 004 00x – 8 11 3
Coyle (L), C.Wittner (3), Humphrey (7) and Humphrey, Fairbanks (7). K-5, BB-9
Sander, M.Schneider (W) (5) and C.Conway. K-5, BB-4