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American Legion baseball: Little Falls makes it four straight over Bemidji

Little Falls completed its four game sweep over the Bemidji Legion Monday, winning a pair of slugfests 15-3 and 13-11 at Little Falls.

The opener ended in five frames., The second was called by darkness after six.

Little Falls had won here last week 3-1 and 15-3.

Today the Legion hosts Park Rapids in a twin bill at 5 at Bemidji State, looking to break into the win column. Tyler Tatro and Cody Rutledge are the probable starters.

This weekend the Legion heads to the St. Cloud Invitational where it will meet Coon Rapids and Waite Park Friday and the St. Cloud Chutes Saturday in pool play.

That meet will then be divided into gold, silver and bronze divisions to start bracket play Saturday afternoon. Winners of the first round bracket games will play twice more Sunday.

Bemidji will be without its top pitcher, Simon Anderson, for the meet while he pitches in the Lions All Star Series at Chaska.

Pitching depth proved a major problem Monday.

Little Falls used an 11-run fourth inning to roll away in the opener and a 12-run third to put the second game almost out of reach.

Bemidji battled back with six in the sixth to come within two before darkness prevailed.

Bemidji led briefly in the opener, scoring in the first on Tyler Follis' first home run of the summer.

But Little Falls countered with three in the second on an error, three walks and Pete Suska's single and added one more in the fourth on Joe Rydeen's double and a single by Eddie Wenzel.

Bemidji got two back in the fourth on Anderson's single and doubles by Matt Hietala and Billy Statton to trail 4-3.

But the host team ran 15 batters to the plate in the last of the frame with 11 of them scoring. Included were seven walks and an error.

Chad Head, who left in the fourth, gave up the first eight runs to take the loss. Hietala finished that frame. The pair had 10 walks and no strikeouts.

Rydeen went the route to win, fanning one and walking none while allowing seven hits. Jeremiah Graves had two.

Second game

Bemidji again led in the nightcap. Little Falls opened with a first inning run on Riley Hirsch's single and Logan Kalis' double.

But Bemidji scored four in the third, two on Rutledge's home run, a third on Hietala's double and the fourth on a single by Tatro.

But Follis got only one out in the last of the frame, giving up 11 runs, nine hits and a walk.

Statton came on to get the final two outs and worked a scoreless fourth and fifth inning.

Bemidji scored in the fifth when Rutledge hit his second homer of the day.

It came close with a six-run sixth, opening with hits by Tatro and Josh Kane, four straight walks and singles by Anderson and Hietala. Wenzel left after the first walk with Rydeen struggling to get the final two outs.

Bemidji ended with nine hits, two each by Rutledge, Hietala and Tatro. Little Falls had 13 with Hirsch having three and Eli Ploof, Suska and Wenzel two.

The results left Bemidji at 0-4, all district conference games.

Little Falls is 6-0, also all in league play.

Park Rapids and Brainerd split their double header Monday to leave both at 1-2. A sweep today could lift the Legion into third place behind Nisswa.