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Bemidji HS baseball: Red River tops Jacks with timely hits in offensive battle

Bemidji's Jeremiah Graves delivered a pitch during Tuesday's game against Red River at BSU Baseball Field. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidji's offense produced seven runs Tuesday against Grand Forks Red River but a few more hits in key situations would have helped as the Lumberjacks dropped a 10-7 home decision.

BHS (5-3) left the bases loaded in the fifth and stranded runners at the corners in the sixth. Those wasted opportunities proved costly.

"Overall we played well but if we get another hit in each of those innings we score four more runs and we win 11-10," said Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson. "We did a nice job of getting guys on base but Tuesday we needed to find a way to get them in."

Red River had its bats sounding as the Roughriders belted 14 hits.

"They hit the ball well and earned their runs," Fogelson said.

The visitors took a 2-0 lead on four hits and a sacrifice fly in the opening inning and a walk combined with two singles for another run in the second.

BHS drew even in the lower third on three singles, a walk and some aggressive base running.

With one out Collin Leif singled and Cole Bardwell pinch ran. Bardwell stole second and Tyler Follis walked on a ball-four wild pitch. Follis raced to first and never hesitated trying for second as the pitch bounced near the third-base dugout.

Taylor Steen's throw to second was late and Leif alertly headed for home on the throw. Leif scored with a slide and Follis gained third on the throw to the plate.

Cody Rutledge followed with an RBI single and gained second when the shortstop dropped a pickoff relay. The error proved costly as Matt Hietala singled home Rutledge.

Red River regained control in the fourth as a walk, three singles and two doubles combined for five runs. The Roughriders added two insurance runs in the fifth when Ryne Anderson belted a 2-run round-tripper over the left field screen.

BHS closed the scoring with two in the fifth and two more in the sixth. The fifth-inning rally began with consecutive singles by Leif, Follis and Rutledge. Hietala earned an RBI when he was hit by a pitch and Mason Bellew's single brought home Follis.

Bemidji, however, stranded the bases loaded as an infield fly, strikeout and fly to left ended the rally.

In the home half of the sixth Leif reached on a fielder's choice, Follis walked and Rutledge and Hietala were hit by pitches, the latter scoring Bardwell who was pinch running. Bellew drove in Follis and advanced Rutledge to third with a fielder's choice ground ball.

But another strikeout ended that opportunity.

"We showed some improvement but there are still areas we need to work on," Fogelson said.

Bemidji's next opportunity to test itself will be Friday when it entertains Alexandria in a doubleheader at the BSU diamond. The opening pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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