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Legion baseball: Bemidji offense breaks out in win over Park Rapids

Bemidji's Josh Kane delivered this pitch to Park Rapids in the first game of the Legion sweep Wednesday night. Kane went the route in the 11-8 comeback win, throwing 115 pitches and finishing strong. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

The Bemidji American Legion broke into the win column Wednesday night, sweeping Park Rapids 11-8 and 10-5 at the BSU diamond.

The sweep lifted Bemidji out of the sub-district cellar into third place at 2-4 and dropped Park Rapids to 1-5.

Bemidji returns to the field this weekend at the St. Cloud Invitational, facing Coon Rapids and Waite Park Friday in pool play and the St. Cloud Chutes Saturday. All 12 teams enter bracket play Saturday afternoon with the first round winners playing twice more Sunday.

Coach Mike Fogelson dipped deep into his mound staff Wednesday with surprisingly good results.

Josh Kane went the route in the opener growing stronger in the final three frames. His mates scored six runs in the sixth to overcome an 8-5 deficit and win.

Freshman Cody Rutledge went the route in the nightcap with Bemidji providing him with 10 runs to make his task easier.

Both teams came out firing in the first game. Park Rapids ran home three in the first on a walk and three singles.

Bemidji answered with four on a hit batter, Tyler Follis' triple, Rutledge's single and Simon Anderson's two-run homer over the left center field fence.

But Kevin Vaadeland shut down Bemidji the next four frames as Park Rapids pulled ahead.

It scored three in the third on a hit batter, walk, Dylan Stenberg's double and a single by Dan Ricke.

Two more crossed in the fourth on three singles, the last by Tom Juberian that drove home both runs.

But Kane shut the door at this point, blanking the visitors the last three frames on no hits.

Bemidji got one back in the fifth on a walk, stolen base and Anderson's single before exploding in the sixth.

Hits by Billy Statton, Tyler Tatro, Kane and Luke Burns opened the frame.

A walk and Rutledge's single tied the score. Anderson plated the winning run with a ground out and Matt Hietala added two more with a single.

Bemidji had 10 hits, two each by Rutledge and Anderson. Kane fanned four and walked five, allowing eight safeties.

Second Game

Park Rapids again jumped in front in the nightcap scoring twice in the first.,

Bemidji answered with three on singles by Graves and Follis, Rutledge's double and an error.

It jumped to a 7-2 lead in the third on a walk, hit batter, two errors and hits by Paul Voss and Graves.

Park Rapids came within two in the fifth, scoring three times on three hits.

But the Panthers defense continued to cough up runs and Bemidji came back with three in its at bat with hits by Tatro, Voss and Graves wrapped around two errors.

Rutledge was impressive in his starter's debut showing a mound maturity far above his age.

He hurled four 1-2-3 innings and grew stronger down the stretch.

Graves and Voss led the attack with three hits while Follis and Rutledge had two.

Cody Schirmers, Walsh, Juberian and Stenberg all had two for Park Rapids.

Stenberg worked the first six frames, allowing all 10 Bemidji runs, to take the loss.