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Blackduck advances to Class A baseball semifinals after long day of waiting

Blackduck's Mitchell Sparby heads to first to drive in the game's first run in the fourth inning of the Drakes MSHSL Class A quarterfinal game against BOLD Thursday night at Chaska Athletic Park. Sparby was out but got an RBI and Blackduck won 4-2. Rand Middleton/Forum Communications Co.

CHASKA - Aaron Nissen gave Blackduck a minor scare in the bottom of the seventh.

Despite loading the bases and eventually letting the tying run walk to first base, the Blackduck pitcher survived a gritty final inning and hung on for a 4-2 win over BOLD in the quarterfinal game of the MSHSL Class A quarterfinals at Chaska Athletic Park.

It gave the Drakes (23-4) their first win in their first state tournament appearance. BOLD falls to 22-5.

Now Blackduck advances to today's 2:30 p.m. semifinal, where they'll take on the winner of the game between New York Mills and Saint Agnes.

That game went well past presstime due to storms in the Twin Cities region. Blackduck's game, which was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., didn't begin until approximately 7:30.

Browerville and Lac qui Parle Valley will play in the other semifinal game, set to start at noon today.

Although Blackduck had to wait a long time to start its game, it didn't seem to faze Nissen, who threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings before giving up two runs in the final frame.

In fact, after scattering a few base hits in the first three innings, Nissen clamped down and and retired 10 straight BOLD hitters until the Warriors got him for a single in the sixth.

He ended up with the win, giving up only two runs on seven hits and two strikeouts. He benefitted from good defense - he forced 13 groundouts and six flyouts; and the Drakes made most of the plays behind him.

Offensively, the Drakes broke through against BOLD's Jacob Marcus in the fourth inning.

After stranding runners on base in the first three frames, the Drakes scored in the fourth. Shane Fenske singled and pinch runner Andrew Nissen came around to score following a walk, a Jake Krabbenhoft single and a Mitch Sparby groundout.

The Drakes added two more in the fifth when Trey Volk doubled and scored on a wild pitch and Dylan Weisert scored on Fenske's RBI single.

Blackduck scored its final run in the sixth. Jake Krabbenhoft hit a leadoff single and scored on an RBI groundout from Mitch Sparby.

In all, BOLD pitcher Marcus gave up four runs on 10 hits, striking out three and walking four.

Blackduck 4, BOLD 2

Blackduck 000 121 0 - 4 10 2

BOLD 000 000 2 - 2 7 0

Nissen (W) and Fenske. K-2, BB-1.

Marcus (L) and Athmann. K-3, BB-4.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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