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Great run to state ends for Bemidji VFW

White Bear Lake scored twice in the last of the ninth inning Friday night to overcome Bemidji 3-2 at the state tournament at St. Cloud.

Bemidji finished 2-2 at the meet, out scored by its final three foes 4-3 with two games going past regulation.

The team ended 25-10, its finest year since its 30-12 season in 2005, its last trip to the state.

The Vets out hit WBL 9-6 but again had troubles bunching their hits for big scoring frames. Except for a four-run frame in their opener, they never scored more than once in any inning afterward.

They scored in the third when Kevin Murphy doubled with two outs and scored on Booster Russ' single.

WBL tied the game in the sixth on a hit batter and a triple by catcher Mike Schlosser.

Neither team scored in the seventh or eighth before Bemidji regained the lead in the top of the ninth when Kris Berndt singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Russ' double.

But a leadoff single, wild pitch and Schlosser's double tied the score in the last of the frame. And with two outs a single by Hazard scored the winning run.

Murphy worked the first eight frames for Bemidji with first game winner Matt Schneider coming on to start the ninth. The loss dropped his record to 6-2.

King went seven for White Bear with Simonson relieving in the eighth to get the win.

Bemidji proved that it could play with the top teams in the state, losing 2-1 in eight innings and 3-2 in nine around a 1-0 win over Proctor. Its first win came 6-0 over the host team, St. Cloud East.

"There's an old adage that good hurling will stop good hitting," said Coach Brad Johnson. "We found that to be the case facing one high quality hurler after another. And our pitching was just as good the whole meet. It was a great group of kids to coach and they should do well at the high school and Legion levels the next two years."

About a half dozen of this year's team members could be back for a second season of V FW play in 2010.

Mankato and Austin reached the winners bracket final Saturday afternoon, White Bear and St. Anthony met in the semifinal of the losers bracket with the winner of that game to face the loser of the Mankato-Austin contest Saturday night.

That winner will face Austin or Mankato for the title today at 1 with a second game, if needed, to follow immediately.

Defending champion Cold Spring did not qualify for this year's meet.

Bemidji VFW 001-000-001---2--9--0

White Bear 000-001-002---3--6--1

Murphy, Schneider (6-2) (9) and Leif

King, Simonson (8) and Schlosser