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Bemidji Blue Ox remains alive in Region 10-C tournament

Blue Ox baserunner Matt Baier follows the signal of third base coach Chris Conway and hits the dirt on his way to third during Sunday's 11-1 victory over Fertile. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - Roseau will be one of the two teams representing Region 10 at the state Class C amateur baseball tournament which begins Aug. 17 at Putz and Faber fields in St. Cloud.

Still in the hunt for the remaining region berth are the Bemidji Blue Ox and Ada and those teams will battle for that final position 1 p.m. Saturday at the Bemidji State University diamond.

The winner of that game will take on Roseau at 4 p.m. to determine the region's seeding positions.

During the first few rounds of region tournament play at BSU Saturday and Sunday Roseau defeated Fertile 13-0, stopped the Blue Ox 11-1 and defeated Ada 9-7 in 10 innings to advance to next week's title game.

After falling to Roseau in its opener the Blue Ox survived in the double-elimination tournament by bouncing Cass Lake 11-1 Sunday morning and eliminating Fertile 11-1 Sunday night.

Ada's weekend results included a 7-3 win over Thief River Falls and the 9-7 loss to Roseau.

In Saturday's late game the Blue Ox dropped into the loser's bracket after falling to Roseau.

Royal's pitcher T.J. Erickson limited Bemidji to only four singles. The lone Blue Ox run came in the bottom of the ninth when Duane Biehn walked, gained third on Sol Schneider's single and scored courtesy of Matt Baier's sacrifice fly.

Roseau took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the third and fourth innings and the Royals broke the game open with five in the sixth.

They padded their cushion with a run in the eighth and three in the ninth.

Bryan Jamieson was the losing pitcher. Nolan Coyle worked the final four innings.

In Sunday morning's elimination game the Blue Ox belted Cass Lake in seven innings. Coyle went the distance on the Bemidji mound, limiting the Reds to a single run on seven hits.

Bemidji's attack wasted little time establishing control as the Blue Ox scored three in the first and three more in the second.

Baier set the tone with a single and an out later Ryan Sander walked. Both runners scored when Landon Harris ripped a triple and Harris scored a few pitches later on a wild pitch.

The 3-run second included walks to Jamieson and Harris, Sander's single, a pair of run-scoring wild pitches and Wayne Biehn's RBI fielder's choice.

Chris Conway plated a run in the fourth on a groundout and another run scored courtesy of a wild pitch.

The Blue Ox capped its scoring with three runs in the fifth on an error, a walk, singles by Josh Kelsey, Jamieson and Harris plus Sander's sacrifice fly.

Cass Lake collected its run in the fourth on singles by Tyler Trosen and Jake Ellis and Taylor Humphrey's ground ball.

Harris and Biehn had a pair of hits for Bemidji.

Sunday's late game was shortened to five innings because of the 10-run rule and the fact that Fertile was playing with eight men.

The Bees began Sunday's contest with nine players but in the second inning right fielder Mitch Sweep broke his hand while swinging at a pitch.

Bemidji owned a 2-0 lead at the time and Fertile did the best it could with eight players on the field. But being shorthanded caught up with the Bees and the Blue Ox settled the outcome with two in the third and seven in the fourth.

Sander pitched four innings and allowed only two hits. Matt Schneider worked the fifth.

Singles by Harris and Chris Conway in the lower first gave the home team a 2-0 lead and Harris' double, Biehn's RBI single and a wild pitch plated two more in the third.

Keying the 7-run fourth were Harris' RBI single, Chris Conway's 2-run single and Joel Conway's bases-loaded triple.

Harris finished with a double and two singles while Chris Conway and Joel Conway each contributed a pair of singles and three RBI.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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