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Blue Ox set to host Region 10-C tournament

Blue Ox shortstop Joel Conway turns two during a recent game against Leech Lake. Defense has been one of the strengths for the Blue Ox all season, and they'll rely on that this weekend when they host the regional tournament starting Saturday at Bemidji State. Jack Hittinger | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - The Blue Ox will host five other teams the next two weekends in the double-elimination Region 10-C men's amateur baseball tournament.

The event will be held at the Bemidji State University diamond and will begin 10 a.m. Saturday when Thief River Falls, the second seed from the Northwest Border, takes on Cass Lake which is the second seed of the Lake and Pine League.

Saturday's other opening round game begins at 1 p.m. and matches Fertile, the second seed from the Norman Polk League, against Roseau which is the Northwest Border's top seed.

At 4 p.m. Ada will take on the TRF-Cass Lake winner while Bemidji will tangle with the Roseau-Fertile winner at 7 p.m.

All games are nine innings.

The tournament continues Sunday and by the end of the weekend three teams will survive.

The tournament will conclude Aug. 11 with the loser's bracket final and the championship series.

The top two finishers will advance to the state tournament which will be held in St. Cloud starting Aug. 17.

The Blue Ox will take a 19-3 record into the tournament and coach Chris Conway is hoping that the success of the regular season will carry over into the region and state playoffs.

"Against this very good field we want to continue to do what we have been doing all year and that is hit the ball hard and pitch very well," Conway said. "We're very optimistic that we will be able to do those things."

Bemidji's top pitchers have been Ryan Sander and Bryan Jamieson and Sander is likely to get the starting job in Saturday's first game.

The probable infield will have Chris Conway behind the plate, Landon Harris at first, Jamieson at second, Matt Baier at third and Joel Conway at short.

The likely outfield alignment will see Josh Kelsey in left, Duane Biehn in center and Nolan Coyle in right.

During the regular season the Blue Ox swept Cass Lake, including an 11-1 win in last weekend's league playoff final. Ada is the only other tournament team that Bemidji has faced and the Blue Ox managed a split, each team winning on its home field.

Sander was the winning pitcher in the league playoff game against Cass Lake. He allowed only four hits in seven innings and struck out five.

Coyle had three hits, scored two runs and drove in two more to pace the offense. Chris Conway and Joel Conway each scored three times and ripped a pair of hits. Sol Schneider also had two hits.

Lake and Pine Playoffs

Championship Game

Cass Lake 000 001 0 - 1 4 3

Blue Ox 010 325 x - 11 12 2

Wittner (L) and Humphrey. K-0, BB-3

Sander (W) and C.Conway. K-5, BB-1

Region 10-C Playoffs


Saturday's Games

Game 1: Thief River Falls vs. Cass Lake, 10 a.m.

Game 2: Fertile vs. Roseau, 1 p.m.

Game 3: Ada vs. Game 1 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 4: Blue Ox vs. Game 2 winner, 7 p.m.

Sunday's Games

Game 5: Game 1 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 10 a.m. (loser eliminated)

Game 6: Game 2 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 1 p.m. (loser eliminated)

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 4 p.m. (winner advances to state tournament)

Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 7 p.m. (loser eliminated)

Saturday, Aug. 11

Game 9: Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner, 1 p.m. (loser eliminated, winner advances to state tournament)

Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner (winner region's No. 1 seed at state tournament, loser No. 2 seed)

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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