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VFW closing in on top seed

The Bemidji VFW all but wrapped up the top seed in the district playoffs Wednesday when it dismantled East Grand Forks 17-1 and 10-1 at East Grand Forks.

The Vets were scheduled to meet Fergus Falls in a doubleheader today, but Fergus was forced to forfeit the game after it could not field enough players for the game.

That moved the Vets to a 20-4 overall record and a 18-0 mark against district foes. Bemidji will close its regular season at Moorhead for a doubleheader starting at noon.

"Our goal Wednesday was to send a message that we are not going to mess around or take a game off just because the end of the season is near," said Bemidji coach Brad Johnson. "Our mission is to come to play from the opening pitch."

In Wednesday's first game the Vets gave EGF an immediate show of what was to come.

"When you score six runs in the first inning, your pitcher retires the side 1-2-3, and you score seven more in the second inning, you have set the tone," Johnson said.

"If I'm in the other dugout and I see that happening I know the game is over. All I would like to do is hit a re-set button and start over."

Ryan Hirt was the recipient of the potent offense but he did his job by allowing only six hits and not issuing a walk.

"Ryan was all business. He threw strikes and that was great to see," Johnson said.

The Vets used singles by Nick Hovila, Nick Conner, Collin Leif, Mason Bellew and Cody Labernick and doubles by Cody Jenkins and Drew Peterson to score six in the opening stanza.

EGF pitcher Blake Larson had trouble finding the plate in the second inning and three walks, an error and 2-run singles by Hovila and Conner helped produce seven runs.

Labernick contributed an RBI single in the 3-run third to up Bemidji's lead to 16-0. Each team scored a run in the fifth.

Hovila finished with three RBI and three hits in as many official at-bats. Conner had a pair of hits and two RBI and Labernick contributed a pair of singles.

The VFW scored a run in the first inning of the rematch but waited until the fourth to put the game away. Peterson opened the fourth inning by drawing a walk and before EGF knew what happened the Vets had seven runs.

The inning included Mitch Buckanaga's double and singles by Sam Dwyer, Hovila, Leif, Jenkins and Trent Baker.

"It was a slower-paced game but when you score 10 runs you know you did the job," Johnson said.

Connor McNallan went the distance on the mound and finished with six strikeouts and one walk.

First Game

Bemidji VFW 673 10 - 17 15 0

EGF 000 10 - 1 6 4

Hirt (W) and Labernick, Buckanaga (4). K-8, BB-0

Larson (L), Danyo (3) and Hammergren, Larson (3). K-4, BB-7

Second Game

Bemidji VFW 100 711 0 - 10 10 0

EGF 000 001 0 - 1 3 1

McNallan (W) and Buckanaga. K-6, BB-1

Thorson (L) and Larson. K-2, BB-3

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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