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Sauk Rapids ends Mudcats season at state

You can't win if you don't score.

That age old adage came back to haunt the Bemidji Mudcats Thursday as they fell to Sauk Rapids 5-0 in the opening round of the state Class B tournament at Gaylord.

The Region 6 champ, Blaine, also lost, bowing to Cold Spring 5-0.

The losses ended the season for both teams.

Cold Spring will return to the meet Saturday at 5 p.m. at Arlington while Sauk Rapids plays the second game that night at 7:30.

Jeff Hille, the Sauk Rapids High baseball coach, set down the Cats on one hit, fanning eight and walking one to pick up his eighth win in10 decisions.

Tony Klaers' sixth inning, two out single stood between Hille and a no hitter.

Paul Fenner worked the first five for the Mudcats to take his second loss in eight decisions. Tyler Norland and Jamie Steinberg worked in relief.

The game actually was over after two pitches. Andy Henkemeyer blasted the second over the wall for a home run. John Nemec then reached on a dropped fly ball, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Tom Wippler's single. Another one bagger by Scott Lochner and a walk filled the bases and a third run crossed on a force out.

Fenner then blanked the Cyclones for the next four frames before leaving in favor of Noland.

The three Bemidji hurlers had six strikeouts and one walk.

Henkemeyer and Swan had two hits each for the Cyclones, returning to Class B ball after a decade in Class C.

Cold Spring is the most frequent visitor to the state, making its 22nd straight appearance and 48th overall.

The loss ended the Cats fine year at 27-9-1.

With one of its youngest teams in history, most of this year's cast should be back on the diamond in 2010.

They may be under new management, however, with Scott Seaton indicating he will step down after nine years at the helm. His most likely successor would be his long-time assistant manager Neil Huewe.