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VFW baseball: Bemidji Vets take pair from East Grand Forks

Bemidji VFW's Dom Hayle slides in safely at third base after hitting a triple during the third inning of Wednesday's first game against East Grand Forks. Watching the play is EGF third baseman Mik Kinzler. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

After 10 games on the road the Bemidji VFW baseball team opened its home season in style Wednesday as the Vets swept East Grand Forks 7-2 and 12-2 at the Bemidji State University diamond.

The victories gave Bemidji a 9-3 record heading into a holiday break. The VFW will return to action July 7 when it entertains Moorhead. The next day Bemidji will host Perham.

The Vets were in charge of both games from the early stages. In the opener Bemidji scored a run in the first and added three in the third. After five innings the Vets led 7-1 and the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Nick Hovila's double and Collin Leif's single produced the first-inning tally.

In the second Sam Dwyer walked and Dom Hayle tripled him home. Hayle scored courtesy of Leif's sacrifice fly and Mason Bellew's single combined with Cody Jenkins' double for the third run of the stanza.

Singles by Drew Peterson and Hovila highlighted the fourth inning.

Ryan Hirt went the distance on the mound and collected seven strikeouts. He yielded four hits and walked six.

The nightcap started slowly as each pitcher had trouble finding the strike zone early in the contest.

Peterson handled Bemidji's pitching duties and issued two walks in the second inning, the latter scoring Neil Nagle who had doubled to open the frame and gained third on Mitch Bridgeford's single. Blake Larson walked to load the bases and another free pass to Tom Gander plated Nagle.

Nagle, the East Grand Forks hurler, returned the favor in the lower half of the stanza, walking five before yielding the mound to Bridgeford who walked two more.

The inning opened with a pair of walks and Devin Barrett plated both runners with a double to deep left field.

Another walk set the table for Hayle's 2-run single and an out later Hirt singled home a run.

Before Bemidji was retired the East Grand Forks pitchers would issue three more walks, one of them to Cody Labernick with the bases loaded.

The VFW upped its lead to 8-1 in the fourth when Dwyer was hit by a pitch, raced all the way to third on a passed ball and scored on a throwing error.

Jenkins drove in Hovila with a single in the fifth and Bemidji ended the game via the 10-run rule with three runs in the sixth courtesy of a hit batter, an error, a walk, two wild pitches and a sacrifice fly.

The Vets needed only four hits to post the victory, Barrett's double and singles by Hayle, Jenkins and Hirt.

East Grand also managed only four hits off Peterson.

First Game

EGF 010 001 0 - 2 4 2

Bemidji VFW 103 120 x - 7 9 0

Pierruszweski (L) and Larson. K-2, BB-1

Hirt (W) and Buckanaga. K-7, BB-6

Second Game

EGF 010 010 - 2 4 3

Bemidji VFW 070 113 - 12 4 1

Nagle (L), Bridgeford (2) and Larson. K-3, BB-14

Peterson (W) and Labernick. K-6, BB-5

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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