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BASEBALL: Brainerd routs Bemidji 10-3 in finale; Jacks await section seed

BRAINERD – A victory Thursday by the Bemidji High School baseball team at Brainerd probably would have guaranteed a top-four seed in the Section 8-3A tournament which begins Monday.

The Lumberjacks, however, saw their seven-game winning streak come to a crashing halt as the Warriors downed Bemidji 10-3 in Bemidji’s regular-season finale.

Instead of assuring themselves a top-four seed and earning the home-field advantage for Monday’s opening round of the Section 8-3A tourney, the Jacks will have to await the release of the section rankings to see where they finished. The announcement is expected about noon today and BHS could land anywhere from fourth to 10th.

The section standings are that close.

The top four section seeds will be rewarded with berths into the quarterfinals and will automatically qualify for the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

Teams seeded fifth through 12th, however, must play an elimination game and a loss in that contest would result in the end of the season.

The play-in games will begin at noon Monday and the quarterfinal contests are scheduled to start at 3 p.m. The sites of Monday’s games will be announced today.

Bemidji seemed poised to win Thursday as the Jacks took a 1-0 lead in the opening inning. Nick Hovila began the game with a single and, following a ground ball and a throwing error, Hovila scored courtesy of Drew Peterson’s sacrifice fly.

The 1-0 lead continued into the third but Brainerd took charge by converting three walks, a single, a double and an error into four runs.

The Warriors upped their cushion to 5-1 with an unearned run in the fourth but the Lumberjacks made things interesting with a pair in the fifth.

With one out Parker Lucas singled and Hovila doubled him to third. Billy Baumgartner plated Lucas with a single and Connor McNallan’s ground ball scored Hovila.

The home team regained momentum with a solo run in the bottom of the fifth and Brainerd ended any suspense by scoring four times in the sixth.

Peterson started on the BHS mound but McNallan relieved him in the third. Mitch Buckanaga and Hovila also saw pitching duty.

The four hurlers combined to strike out four but they walked seven.

  Bemidji will take an 11-7 record into the postseason.

Bemidji        100  020  0  –    3    8 2

Brainerd       004  114  x  –  10  10 1

Peterson (L), McNallan (3), Buckanaga (4), Hovila (6) and Buckanaga, Revering (4), Buckanaga (6). K-4, BB-7

Miller (W), Graumann (S) (6) and DeChaine. K-7, BB-1

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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