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McNallan, Rutledge lead VFW baseball team to shutout win over Perham

Connor McNallan of the Bemidji VFW baseball team allowed only five hits in his route-going performance against Perham Thursday. McNallan and his teammates swept the doubleheader, winning both games 9-0. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Connor McNallan tossed a five-hit shutout in the opener and Collin Rutledge pitched a three-hit shutout in the second game as the Bemidji VFW baseball team posted a pair of 9-0 victories over Perham Thursday at the BSU diamond.

Thursday's wins upped the VFW's record to 16-8 and it will try to improve upon that mark Saturday when it heads to Thief River Falls for a doubleheader.

Bemidji took control early in both halves of Thursday's doubleheader, scoring three first-inning runs in each.

Nick Hovila started the Vets on their winnings ways in the first game as he singled and stole second. Mark Fenner moved Hovila to third with a single and Billy Baumgartner plated him with a sacrifice fly.

Ryan Hirt reached after being hit by a pitch and Cody Labernick's single scored Fenner. Walks to Mitch Buckanaga and Drew Peterson forced in the third run.

Singles by Hovila, Baumgartner and Hirt combined for two runs in the second and Hovila ignited a four-run third with another single and stolen base.

He scored courtesy of Fenner's single and Baumgartner followed with a home run to left. Labernick's single and an error on Buckanaga's grounder plated another run.

The nine runs were more than enough as McNallan kept Perham off the scoreboard. He fanned two and allowed only two walks.

Fenner, Hovila and Labernick each pounded three singles. Baumgartner had a home run and a single and Buckanaga belted two singles.

In Thursday's rematch Baumgartner started a two-out rally in the first inning by being hit by a pitch. McNallan, Hirt and Labernick followed with doubles to drive in the three runs.

The 3-0 lead stood until the fifth when Bemidji put the game on ice with five runs. The inning included singles by Drew Peterson, Baumgartner, Labernick and Buckanaga, an error and Hirt's double.

The VFW closed the scoring in the sixth when Hovila doubled, Parker Lucas and Tom Revering were hit by pitches and McNallan delivered a sacrifice fly.

Rutledge whiffed six and walked one on way to the shutout.

First Game

Perham 000 000 0 - 0 5 1

Bemidji VFW 324 000 x - 9 15 1

Stigman (L), Meyer (3) and Mulcahy. K-2, BB-2

McNallan (W) and Buckanaga. K-2, BB-1

Second Game

Perham 000 000 0 - 0 3 1

Bemidji VFW 300 051 x - 9 9 0

Helmeka (L) and Mulcahy. K-0, BB-0

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

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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