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BASEBALL: Legion prepares for Gopher Classic with sweep of Detroit Lakes

DETROIT LAKES — Collin Rutledge allowed only one bloop single in 6.1 innings of work and Connor McNallan ripped a double and two singles to lead the Bemidji Legion baseball team to a 7-0 victory at Detroit Lakes Monday in the opening game of a doubleheader.

Bemidji also claimed the nightcap 4-1 as Matt Morgan and Seth Anderson combined on a 3-hitter.

The sweep came at a great time as it provided momentum as the Legion heads to the giant Gopher Classic this weekend. Bemidji will open the tournament Friday with a 2 p.m. game against Tri-City. On Saturday the Legion will face Huron and Excelsior and its round-robin action will continue on Sunday against Plymouth (Indiana) and Rochester.

If Bemidji can win its pool it will join the other 15 pool champions in a 16-team single-elimination bracket-play tournament on Monday and Tuesday.

“The message to the team on Monday was to improve our game and prepare for the high level of competition that we will see at the Gopher Classic,” said Legion coach Nate Blumhagen. “And we did. We fielded the ball very well and our pitchers did their jobs.”

Rutledge did issue five walks in his opening-game mound appearance but not allowing a hit through six innings and striking out 10 enabled the lefty to work around the free passes.

The no-hit bid was snapped by a bloop single over second base with one out in the bottom of the seventh and Cody Anderson came in to throw one pitch and end the game with a double play.

Bemidji’s offense produced 13 hits, including three by McNallan. Tom Revering, Rutledge and Dan Johnson each contributed a pair of singles.

The Legion scored the only run it would need in the first inning as Rutledge, Ryan Hirt and McNallan all singled.

James Hendricks began the third inning with a single and, after he was forced at second by Revering, singles by Rutledge and McNallan plated the game’s second run.

An error on Hirt’s ground ball opened the door for two Bemidji runs in the fifth. McNallan followed with a double and Lucas Goins’ sacrifice fly plated Hirt. McNallan scored when Johnson singled.

Revering’s single, a walk to Rutledge and Tony Geerdes’ double combined for two runs in the sixth and the Legion added a single run in the seventh when Matt Morgan was hit by a pitch, Johnson singled and the defense yielded two passed balls.

Morgan pitched six innings in the rematch to earn the victory, fanning seven and walking six.

As was the case in the opener, the Legion’s offense scored in the initial inning when Rutledge singled, stole second and Hirt singled him home.

Cody Anderson led off the fifth by being hit by a pitch and he was forced at second on Johnson’s ground ball. Hendricks followed with a single and, after a passed ball advanced both runners, Johnson scored courtesy of Revering’s sacrifice fly to center.

Bemidji (4-7) added two insurance runs in the sixth on Hirt’s single, McNallan’s double, Goin’s RBI single and a passed ball.

Rutledge had a double and a single while Hirt belted two singles.

The Legion is off until Friday but it will team with the VFW team to hold the annual fundraising spaghetti dinner 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at the Bemidji Legion.

The public is invited and all money raised will be channeled to the Legion and VFW baseball teams.

First Game

Bemidji 101 022 1 - 7 13 0

Detroit Lakes 000 000 0 - 0 1 1

Rutledge (W), C.Anderson (7) and Morgan, Revering (7). K-10, BB-5

Haire (L) and Bolig. K-3, BB-6

Second Game

Bemidji 100 012 0 - 4 9 1

Detroit Lakes 000 100 0 - 1 3 2

Morgan (W), S.Anderson (7, S) and C.Anderson. K-7, BB-6

Bergren (L) and Bolig. K-1, BB-1

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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