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VFW offense breaks out in sweep

VFW pinch-runner Billy Baumgartner slid into home ahead of the throw to score in the fourth inning of Tuesday's 8-1 Bemidji victory over Detroit Lakes. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

A busy week of baseball began on a positive note Tuesday as the VFW swept a home doubleheader against Detroit Lakes.

The Vets dominated the opener and cruised to an 8-1 victory. The nightcap was even more one-sided as a 10-run second inning carried Bemidji to an 11-3 triumph.

Trent Baker was given the pitching nod in the first game and he responded with a workmanlike performance that produced 11 strikeouts in five innings. Detroit Lakes managed only one hit off Baker who retired for the day after reaching the predetermined pitch count.

"We wanted Trent to throw 75 pitches and he was able to go five innings," said VFW coach Brad Johnson. "You can't have a plan work better than this one."

The magic number was set at 75 because Baker is slated to pitch Saturday at Moorhead.

"We were looking at Tuesday's game as an extended bullpen session," Johnson said. "He'll be ready for Saturday."

While Baker was mowing down the Detroit Lakes hitters Bemidji's offense ripped nine hits off Travis Dorff who relied primarily on off-speed pitches. Nick Hovila led the charge with three singles, three runs and a pair of RBI.

"We played well but if I were to nit-pick I'd like to see us adjust our hitting approach when a guy is throwing as slowly as Dorff was," Johnson said. "I thought we had too many fly balls and would like to see us adjust so we hit on the top of the ball instead of under it.

"But when you have nine hits in seven innings this is nit-picking," Johnson added.

The visitors opened the scoring in the first as a walk, stolen base, single and error combined for a run.

Bemidji countered with three in its half of the stanza, however, and never looked back.

With one out Hovila singled and Cody Jenkins was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch advanced both runners and an out later Baker delivered an RBI single to deep short. Nick Connor capped the frame with a 2-run bloop single to right.

The Vets used Hovila's single and Baker's double to produce a run in the third and they ended the suspense with three more in the fourth.

Conner McNallan was hit by a pitch and Mitch Buckanaga singled to open the inning. Hovila later plated both with a single and he scored courtesy of Jenkins' single.

The VFW closed the scoring in the sixth on a pair of hit batters, a walk and Devin Barrett's RBI groundout.

Baker contributed a double, a single and two RBI. Buckanaga finished with a pair of hits and Connor drove in two runs.

In the second game the Vets erupted for 10 runs in the second inning and never were threatened. The decisive stanza featured a pair of doubles by Cody Labernick, singles by Baumgartner, Jenkins and McNallan, an error, a hit batter and four walks.

Labernick contributed three RBI with his two doubles and McNallan's single drove in a pair. Baumgartner and Jenkins also had RBIs.

Drew Peterson had the RBI in the fourth when his sacrifice fly plated Jenkins who had walked and gained second courtesy of Hirt's single.

Jenkins was the winning pitcher and Connor finished with two innings of relief. The pair combined for 10 strikeouts and four walks.

Bemidji, 16-4 overall and 14-0 against district opponents, will be at East Grand Forks today for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.

First Game

Detroit Lakes 100 000 0 - 1 4 1

Bemidji VFW 301 301 x - 8 9 1

Dorff (L) and Fonderick. K-1, BB-1.

Baker (W), Barrett (6) and Buckanaga. K-12, BB-4

Second Game

Detroit Lakes 0 0 0 020 1 - 3 2 2

Bemidji VFW 0(10)0 100 x - 11 5 2

Eiter (L), Fonderick (2) and Fonderick, Boyd (2). K-4, BB-5

Jenkins (W), Connor (6) and Labernick. K-10, BB-4

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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