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Mudcats beat Hibbing 10-4 in first game of region tournament

Bemidji's Jeff Schaper attempts to put a tag on Hibbing's Chad Salman at first base during Friday's game at BSU Baseball Field. Salman was safe on the play. Pioneer?Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji Mudcats moved one step closer to a state tournament berth Friday night, downing Hibbing 10-4 before a good turnout at the BSU diamond.

The Cats meet Blaine or the Duluth Xpress today at 1:30 in the winners' bracket final.

That pair met in the late Friday game.

The two losers open today at 11.

The winner of that game will face the loser of the 1:30 contest at 4 for the second berth at the state.

That winner then takes on the last unbeaten team at 11 tomorrow for the region title.

If a second game is needed, it will follow immediately.

Bemidji broke open a tight 4-3 game with six runs in the sixth and coasted home.

Paul Fenner was in top form, spacing seven hits. But except for two bad pitches, he might have had a shutout. He fanned seven and walked only one, throwing 145 pitches.

Bemidji gave him a quick start, scoring twice in the first.

Simon Anderson walked, was sacrificed to second, and after Tony Klaers was hit by a pitch, took third on a long fly and scored as Dan Bauer reached on an error.

Jeff Schaper then dropped a flair over short to score Klaers.

With one out in the fifth, Doug Peterson was hit by a pitch and Bauer lofted a high fastball over the left center field fence for a 4-0 advantage.

Fenner was in total command to that point allowing only two singles.

He got the first batter in the sixth, then gave up a single to Dan Eldien and an infield hit to Colin Moberly.

Ben Povhe then matched Bauer's blast to almost the same spot, scoring three runs to close the lead to one.

It was a brief comeback.

Bemidji went small ball to start its sixth as Brian Murphy singled to left and Andrew Hengel and Anderson beat out bunts.

With the bases loaded, Brent Magnuson and Klaers each doubled to left center, each hit scoring two runs.

Bauer followed with a third two bagger to plate Klaers and Schaper reached on an error.

Up for the second time, Murphy singled home Bauer for a 10-3 lead.

Moberly relieved at this point to retire the side and blanked Bemidji the final two frames.

Hibbing scored in the eighth when Eldien singled and Moberly banged a double off the left field fence. But Fenner worked out of that frame and retired the side in order in the ninth.

Bauer, playing his first game in a month, joined Murphy with two hits. Five others had one.

Moberly had three and Eldien two in the seven hit Hibbing attack.

Fenner raised his record to 5-2. Ben Povhe, who left after two frames, drew the loss.

Tyler Norland (2-2) will get today's start.

Bemidji divided its four games with Duluth and is 0-1 with Blaine this year.

Blaine is the defending region champion with last year's final game rained out.

Hibbing 000-003-010---- 4 --7--3

Mudcats 200-026-00x---10--9--1

Povhe (L), Casareto (3), Moberly (6) and Moberly, Steinberg (6)

Fenner (5-2) and Klaers, Clark (8)