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Legion baseball: Berndt, hot bats too much for Thief River

Kris Berndt pitched a complete game Wednesday as the Bemidji American Legion downed Thief River Falls 15-1. Berndt limited TRF to only six hits. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

It would have been understandable had the Bemidji Legion baseball team been weary Wednesday night when it hosted Thief River Falls.

Wednesday's contest, which was switched to a single nine-inning game from its original doubleheader status, represented Bemidji's 16th game within the past 10 days.

Those figures will increase today as the Legion hosts Brainerd in a twinbill at the BSU diamond beginning at 5 p.m.

"Considering how much we have played lately, I was very glad to see us score 15 runs on 12 hits and to have our pitcher do so well," Legion coach Mike Fogelson said.

The offensive outburst led to a 15-1 victory with Kris Berndt going the route on the mound. Bemidji was able to conserve a few arms for today's game because it disposed of Thief River Falls in seven innings instead of the scheduled nine due to the 10-run rule.

Through the early going it appeared that the outcome could go either way. Both teams scored in the opening stanza and the 1-1 deadlock continued into the fourth.

Bemidji's first run was the result of Mitch Hendricks' single, an error and Mason Bellew's RBI groundout.

The Legion's bats erupted in the final three innings, however, while the Thief River Falls defense disintegrated. The result was four runs in the fourth, six in the fifth and four more in the sixth.

The fourth-inning outburst featured singles by Tyler Tatro, Jeremiah Graves, Hendricks and Cody Rutledge, Zach Solheim's double and Booster Russ' sacrifice fly.

The Legion needed only three hits to score six unearned runs in the fifth as TRF was its own worst enemy, committing five errors in the inning.

The defensive mistakes set the stage for Russ's sacrifice fly and Rutledge's 3-run round-tripper to left field.

A walk to Tatro, Solheim's single and Matt Hietala getting hit by a pitch opened the gates in the sixth. The bases were loaded for Graves who delivered a sacrifice fly and another run scored when Hendricks singled. A wild pitch plated another and the final run scored when Rutledge singled.

Hendricks finished with three singles while Rutledge had two singles, a home run and six RBI. Solheim added a double and a single.

Bemidji will take a 14-8 record into today's doubleheader. Solheim and Matt Schneider are scheduled to be the starting pitchers.

TRF 100 000 0 - 1 6 7

Legion 100 464 x - 15 12 2

Hansen, Cervantes (2), (L), Wheeler (6) and Balm.

Berndt (W 3-0) and Leif

Tuesday's games

Tuesday night the Legion dropped both halves of a doubleheader at Nisswa, falling 10-0 in the opener and 9-3 in the rematch.

Bemidji managed only four hits in the first game, singles by Matt Hietala, Booster Russ, Mitch Hendricks and Zach Solheim.

The home team took charge early with a solo run in the first inning, three in the second and two in the third. Nisswa settled the issue in the fifth when Kyle Crocker belted a grand slam.

Cody Rutledge took the mound loss.

"We hit a lot of balls hard but nothing fell in," said Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson.

In Tuesday's nightcap Nisswa turned nine walks and seven hits into nine runs.

"We issued too many walks," Fogelson said. "You can't give a good team like Nisswa that many free bases."

The Legion took a 1-0 lead in the opening inning when Hendricks and Collin Leif singled and Rutledge delivered a sacrifice fly.

Nisswa, however, answered with three in its half of the frame and added a run in the lower second.

Bemidji drew within 4-2 with a run in the third on doubles by Hendricks and Rutledge and used Solheim's solo home run to slice the deficit to 4-3 in the top of the fourth.

Nisswa, however, regained control with five in the lower fourth.

Jeremiah Graves worked the first five innings on the Legion mound and was the losing pitcher.

Tuesday's Results

Legion 000 00 - 0 4 0

Nisswa 132 04 - 10 9 0

Rutledge (L), Hayle (5) and Leif. K-4, BB-6

Flanagan (W) and McCluney. K-3, BB-1

Legion 101 100 0 - 3 6 1

Nisswa 310 500 x - 9 7 1

Graves (L), Hayle (6) and Leif. K-4, BB-9

Sausen (W) and Rans. K-0, BB-1

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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