Harris' home run gives Blue Ox win
One swing of the bat brought a dramatic end to a 200 minute pitchers' duel Friday night as the Blue Ox shaded the Cass Lake Reds 2-1 at BSU.
Landon Harris drove a first pitch fastball from Reds reliever Mike Hanson over the left center field fence to end a game that seemed destined to last until midnight.
It was a classic mound duel from the start with college sophomores Matt Fossen (BSU) for the Ox and lefty Keenan Humphrey (Hamline) for the Reds matching deliveries.
Fossen left after four but Humphrey worked the first eight (126 pitches), leaving behind 1-0.
But his mates quickly tied the score in the ninth and the game lingered through four more frames before being decided.
Despite the low score, there was a multitude of action with both teams having scoring chances.
There were four double plays, three by the Blue Ox, that ended promising rallies.
Fossen retired the first eight batters he faced and left after four frames giving up only one hit while fanning five.
In the seventh, the Blue Ox broke through when Ryan Sullivan slashed a double into the right field corner, took third on Matt Schneider's bloop single to center and scored as Duane Biehn forced Schneider, barely beating the return throw to first that would have retired the side.
Sullivan came on in the fifth for the Ox and worked out of a three hit seventh by getting a ground ball double play to end the inning.
He went into the ninth with the lead.
But Tyler Wittner opened that frame, banging a long drive off the left center field fence for a triple and scored on Hanson's line drive single to left.
Sullivan yielded a leadoff single in the tenth and yielded mound duties to Schneider. He worked out of a bases loaded jam in the 12th with a strikeout and retired the side in order in the 13th.
Tyler Trosen relieved Humphrey in the ninth and allowed leadoff singles in the next three frames but escaped unscathed. He fanned the side in the 12th.
Hanson retired Chris Conway on a fly to open the 13th before Harris ended matters. Ironically it was his first hit of the game, the last of nine starters to get a safety.
Bemidji had 13 hits with Joel Conway getting three and Biehn and Josh Kelsey two.
The Reds ended with 10, three by Hanson and two from Beck and Caleb Fisher.
The game featured the pinch hitting appearance of Tom Humphrey, father of Keenan and catcher Taylor, who grounded into the double play to end the ninth.
The win lifted Chris Conway's Blue Ox to 5-6. Cass Lake dropped to 3-6.
The Ox hosts Warroad today at 1 in a doubleheader.
Cass Lake 000-000-001-000-0--1-10-2
Blue Ox 000-000-100-000-1--2-13-1
K. Humphrey, Trosen (9), Hanson (L) (13) and T. Humphrey, Fisher (9)
Fossen, Sullivan (5), Schneider (1-1) (10) and Jacobson