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BHS blanks Alexandria to sweep doubleheader

Bemidji High School baseball team played a double header against Alexandria on Friday evening. Shown above, Cody Rutledge creates some excitement in the first inning of game one, hitting a triple and sliding in safely at third base against Alexandra's Erich Murphy. The Lumberjacks won game one 9-0 en route to a sweep of the Cardinals. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School Lumberjacks got a dominant pitching performance out of both of their starters Friday afternoon, leading to a sweep of the Alexandria Cardinals.

The Lumberjacks won game one 9-0 and took game two 4-0.

"It always starts with pitching, and our guys today just did a great job," Coach Mike Fogelson said. "Two shutouts, seven hits, very huge walks. They gave us complete games and that is what we were looking for."

Pitcher Cody Jenkins started game one. He gave up no runs on four hits and struck out four. With offensive help, led by Collin Leif's four-RBI day, he was able to finish what he started.

"My two-seam fastball was working really good, it was cutting in on them well," Jenkins said. "It is really nice to have people score for me, and my arm felt good, which I like."

The Jacks' offense got started in the third inning, when Leif got his first of two two-RBI singles, batting in Mitch Hendricks and Cody Rutledge from second and third base.

In the fifth, it was Rutledge who clobbered a ball off Cardinals' pitcher Alex Anderson that cleared the wall in left field for a two-run homer. Leif then drove a double to right, and Mason Bellew reached on a single that dropped between Cardinals' shortstop Ben Allen and left fielder Gideon Burnham. Nick Connor drove in Burnham with a single giving the Jacks a 5-0 lead.

Leif drove in two more runs in the sixth, followed by two more runs on a single by Mason Bellew and a sac fly by Nick Connor to end the scoring.

Sophomore Ryan Hirt pitched the second game, giving up three hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts, including the first five outs. The Jacks offense quieted down, but they were able to scrounge up four runs on five hits, winning 4-0 to complete the sweep.

"I was just throwing the fastball, locating it inside and outside," Hirt said. "If [the Cardinals] hit it, I knew I had good defense behind me, so I was just trying to throw strikes out there."

Cardinals' pitcher Beau Backhaus was able to quiet down Cody Rutledge, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. But the Jacks were able to scrounge runs elsewhere.

Shortstop Mitch Hendricks drove Conner for the go-ahead run in the second. The Jacks' other three runs came in the fourth. Sam Dwyer hit a sac fly to score Jenkins from third followed by a single by Connor McNallan to drive in Dwyer. Hendricks then drove in McNallan for the 4-0 lead.

Fogelson said he was impressed with the poise of sophomore pitcher Hirt, who had his best game of the season.

"He is a lefty, his ball moves a lot and he has a lot of velocity," Fogelson said. "He just has a lot of things working for him.

The Cardinals could not fight back, getting only three hits in the game.

With the sweep the Jacks move to 8-1 and the Cardinals fall to 2-4. The Jacks will be at home again Monday when they host Warroad.

Game One

Alexandria 000 000 0 - 0 4 0

Bemidji 002 034 x - 9 12 2

Jenkins (W) and Leif. K-4. BB-8

Game Two

Alexandria 000 000 0 - 0 3 5

Bemidji 010 300 x - 4 5 1

Hirt and

WP -- Hirt (W) and Leif. K-9.