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Schneider leads Legion baseball to season-opening win

The Bemidji Legion baseball team opened its season Tuesday night with a rain-shortened 4-1 victory at Thief River Falls. The second game of the scheduled doubleheader was a weather victim.

Tonight the Legion is scheduled to head to Brainerd for a twinbill but Brainerd was involved in the Section 8AAA baseball playoffs Wednesday and how it fared in that game would influence today's schedule.

Moorhead and St. Michael-Albertville squared off in Wednesday's elimination game and that winner played Brainerd. If Brainerd won it captured the section title but if it lost, a rematch would be played today.

And a rematch would result in the postponement of the Legion contest.

Tuesday at Thief River Falls Matt Schneider allowed only one run in going the full six innings. Bemidji's offense scored solo runs in the first and second innings and added two in the fifth.

The teams began the seventh inning and Bemidji scored six runs and seemed destined for more with no one out and two runners on. Those runs became unofficial, however, when lightning filled the sky and ominous clouds moved in.

The umpires were forced to call the game with Bemidji batting in the seventh and those six runs were wiped off the board.

Collin Leif singled to start the first-inning rally and he gained third when his hit was mishandled. Tyler Follis followed with an RBI single and Bemidji was on the board.

In the second Mason Bellew was hit by a pitch and two outs later Mitch Hendricks and Leif singled to load the bases. Bellew scored when Follis' grounder was booted.

Follis began the fifth inning with a single and, after Cody Rutledge walked, Matt Hietala singled home Follis. Rutledge and Hietala then worked a double steal with Rutledge scoring.

The seventh inning featured walks to Follis, Tyler Tatro and Hendricks, a hit batter, singles by Hietala, Bellew and Jeremiah Graves plus an error.

"We scored six but I don't know how many runs we would have gotten had the inning played out," said Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson. "Overall we played solid defense the entire game and Matt Schneider pitched very well. We would have liked to have gotten in both games but that didn't happen."

If today's games are played Ryan Stevens and Zach Solheim will start on the mound.

Bemidji Legion 110 020 - 4 7 1

Thief River Falls 000 001 - 1 5 2

Schneider (W 1-0) and Leif. K-6, BB-2

Wightman (L) and Hansen. K-1, BB-4

NOTE: Game was called with Bemidji batting in the seventh because of lightning and rain. The second game of the scheduled doubleheader was cancelled.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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