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Bemidji baseball teams celebrate successful seasons

BEMIDJI – It has been a wonderful year for the Bemidji High School, Legion and VFW baseball programs and their fans.

During the 2012 campaigns the high school team posted a 25-3 record and finished second in the state Class 3A tournament, the Legion went 20-9-1 and the VFW compiled a 24-7 mark, ending its summer at the state tournament.

The three programs celebrated last week in a combined post-season dinner and BHS and Legion coach Mike Fogelson saluted everyone who had a hand in the success, especially this year’s seniors.

“It’s special to see the course the seniors took and how they progressed through the years,” Fogelson said. “This year’s seniors formed a very strong core of players. We’re going to have some great players in the future but I’m not sure we’re ever going to have the depth that this year’s senior class brought.”

Behind those seniors the Lumberjacks dominated during the regular season, outworked their Section 8-3A opponents on way to the title and advanced to the state championship game where they fell 1-0 to Eastview in a classic pitcher’s duel.

“This team had everything,” Fogelson said. “It didn’t lack in any facet. We expected to score runs and we led the state in offense. We expected to play solid defense and we did. But it was the pitching staff that was the piece of the puzzle that made us what we were.”

Headlining that staff was sophomore Ryan Hirt who was given the team’s Cy Young Award during last week’s celebration.

Hirt also was the mainstay of the Legion program which fell in the district playdowns a few games short of the state tournament.

Other winners of the major high school baseball awards included Cody Rutledge (Horace May MVP), Mason Bellew and Collin Leif (Des Sagedahl Coaches Award) and Mitch Hendricks (Gold Glove).

Hendricks also was named the MVP of the Legion team and Hirt earned that team’s Cy Young Award.

The MVP for this summer’s VFW team was Collin Rutledge.

“These players, especially these seniors, will always have a special place in my heart,” Fogelson said. “What they did set a new standard for the Bemidji baseball program.

“It was a dream season for the high school team,” the coach continued. “We went many years without much success and this year we played at Target Field in the state championship game.”

Earning letters for the BHS baseball team this year were:

Seniors: Mason Bellew, Mitch Hendricks, Jordan Sweep, Sam Dwyer, Nick Conner, Cody Jenkins, Cody Rutledge, Collin Leif.

Juniors: Nick Hovila, Connor McNallan, Billy Baumgartner, Drew Peterson, Mitch Buckanaga, Cody Labernick.

Sophomores: Collin Rutledge, Ryan Hirt.

Team Awards

Bemidji High School

Horace May (MVP): Cody Rutledge

Des Sagedahl (Coaches Award): Mason Bellew, Collin Leif

Cy Young: Ryan Hirt

Gold Glove: Mitch Hendricks

Golden Spikes: Sam Dwyer

Most Improved: Dwyer, Nick Conner

Silver Slugger (10 home runs): Cody Jenkins, Rutledge

Newcomer of the Year: Nick Hovila

Mr. Versatile: Connor McNallan

Moe Webb Volunteers: Tim and Pam Bellew; Doug and Renee Leif

All-Section 8-3A: Rutledge, Leif, Hendricks, Hirt, Jenkins, Hovila

Senior Awards (Lumberjacks for Life): Rutledge, Hendricks, Leif, Jenkins, Bellew, Dwyer, Conner, Jordan Sweep

2012 Captains: Rutledge, Hendricks, Bellew

Legion, VFW

Legion MVP Jim Carrington Award: Mitch Hendricks

Legion Cy Young: Ryan Hirt

VFW MVP Pelawa Award: Collin Rutledge

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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