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This week at Bemidji High School: Belated spring forces Jacks to alter schedules

BEMIDJI – The never-ending winter continues to wreak havoc on the Bemidji High school spring sports teams

Heading into this week only the boys and girls track and field teams and the boys tennis squad have seen any action. The hope around BHS this week, however, is that the baseball and softball teams can finally take to the diamond, although both teams will have to make extensive road trips to accomplish that goal.

The Lumberjacks girls golf team is still scheduled to participate in the Grand Rapids Invitational Saturday at Pokegama but it seems very unlikely that any northern Minnesota course will be available for play by the weekend.

The boys team also was scheduled for action Saturday as it had planned to play in the Staples Invitational. That meet, however, has already been pushed back to May 4.

The optimists at Bemidji High School were hoping that the BHS baseball and softball teams could have played in the Twin Cities suburbs last weekend. A snowstorm that buried central and southern Minnesota on Thursday, however, put those plans on hold.

The Jacks are going to try again on Friday and Saturday and the prospects, at least for areas south of Bemidji, appear promising. If conditions allow the softball team will travel to Monticello 5 p.m. Friday for its belated season opener. On Saturday the Lumberjacks will continue their road trip, heading all the way to Zumbrota in southwestern Minnesota.

As long as they are there the Jacks will make the most of the trip, playing three games on Saturday. The triple header will commence at 10 a.m. against St. Anthony and at noon Bemidji will tangle with Burnsville. The day will end at 2 p.m. when BHS battles the host team.

The extended weather forecast for southeastern Minnesota also appears favorable. There is a possibility of snow flurries in Zumbrota today but by Thursday the temperature is expected to reach 49 degrees. On Friday it is predicted to climb to 64 and on Saturday that part of the state could reach 70 degrees.

Bemidji’s baseball team also is hoping to open its campaign during the weekend but the details are still being worked on.

Lumberjacks coach Mike Fogelson has been in contact with many of his Twin Cities and southern Minnesota peers in search of games and places to play them. As is the case in Bemidji, many teams are seeking action and Fogelson believes that BHS will be playing somebody, somewhere on Saturday. At this time he just isn’t sure who or where.

The track teams have been the beneficiaries of the Gillett Recreation and Fitness Center indoor facility at BSU. Bemidji State track coach Craig Hougen has sponsored five meets at the facility and the Lumberjacks have been able to compete in all of them.

Those meets have replaced the two outdoor competitions that have been cancelled, including today’s scheduled meet at Brainerd.

The ability to test themselves, albeit indoors, has enabled the Lumberjacks to hone their skills and many of the athletes have elevated their performances to the level of reaching the standards for Friday’s Hamline Elite meet.

Participation in that competition is by invitational only and it is possible that many BHS boys and girls will be invited. Just who that will be, however, won’t be known until later this week.

The indoor facility at BSU has also benefitted the Bemidji boys tennis team. With the high school outdoor courts still covered by snow the Jacks have periodically been practicing at the Gillett Recreation and Fitness Center.

Last week BHS was able to open its campaign when it topped East Grand Forks 6-1 at the indoor courts in Grand Forks. On Wednesday the Lumberjacks will head indoors again, this time at BSU, for a triangular with Grand Rapids and Thief River Falls. Bemidji will face Grand Rapids at 8 a.m. and TRF at 10:45.

At some point the snow will leave and this weekend could mark the beginning of that process. Friday’s predicted high is in the middle 50s and by Sunday northern Minnesota could reach the high 60s.

If that happens it won’t be too long before the snowpack gives way to green grass and the BHS spring athletes can, finally, head outside where they belong.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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