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BASEBALL: Bemidji offense comes alive in sweep of Prowlers

THIEF RIVER FALLS – After struggling at the plate during Wednesday’s doubleheader loss to Grand Rapids Bemidji’s bats came alive Thursday at Thief River Falls.

BHS managed only five hits in two games on Wednesday but the Jacks ripped 11 hits in the opener and coasted to a 13-3 victory. The Lumberjacks continued their attack in the rematch, pounding 14 hits which led to a 14-8 win.

“We were much more aggressive at the plate and we did a much better job of hitting with two strikes,” said BHS coach Mike Fogelson whose team improved to 4-5.

Bemidji wasted no time taking charge in the second game as the Jacks scored three runs in the first inning, five in the second and four in the third.

Nick Hovila set the tone in the second game as he gained an extra base on a walk and wild pitch.

The extra effort paid immediate dividends when Billy Baumgartner singled him home. An out later Drew Peterson walked and Devin Barrett plated both runners with a double to right-center field.

Thief River Falls answered with three runs in its first at-bat but the Lumberjacks responded with five runs in the upper second. Keying the rally were singles by Baumgartner, Connor McNallan, Barrett and Collin Rutledge.

The visitors continued their onslaught with four runs in the third. An error on Baumgartner’s ground ball opened the flood gates and before the inning ended McNallan ripped an RBI double and Barrett and Mitch Buckanaga delivered run-scoring singles.

Another run came home courtesy of Rutledge’s fielder’s choice ground ball.

BHS upped its lead to 14-5 with a pair in the fourth. Baumgartner’s single was the spark and the inning also featured walks to McNallan and Peterson plus Tom Revering’s RBI ground ball.

The Jacks never were able to get the run that would push them into a 10-run lead and the Prowlers extended the game the full seven innings with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Cody Labernik started on the Bemidji mound but lasted only into the second inning. Buckanaga relieved with one out and the bases loaded in the second and the Lumberjacks leading 8-5. Buckanaga ended the Prowlers’ threat with a strikeout and a comebacker and he continued to thwart the home team the rest of the way.

In 4.2 innings of work Buckanaga allowed only one run on five hits.

Baumgartner led Bemidji’s attack in the second game with three hits and four runs. Barrett ripped two singles and a double and drove in three runs.

In Thursday’s opener Seth Anderson pitched very well, going four innings and limiting the Prowlers to three runs.

His offensive teammates also came through and leading the charge was Hovila who set the table by reaching three times on singles.

His first hit opened the contest and, after McNallan walked, Barrett plated both runners with his first of two doubles.

The Lumberjacks led 3-2 before breaking the game open with six runs in the fourth. The big inning featured Baumgarter’s 3-run round tripper, an RBI double by Barrett and Austin Weidemann’s 2-run double.

Bemidji settled the issue with four runs in the fifth. Peterson drove home a run with a single and the Lumberjacks also profited from three errors.

BHS is off until Monday when it travels to Alexandria for a doubleheader.

First Game

Bemidji 210 64 – 13 11 0

Thief River Falls 002 10 – 3 6 4

Anderson (W), Barrett (5) and Buckanaga. K-2, BB-6

Second Game

Bemidji 354 200 0 – 14 14 2

Thief River Falls 320 001 2 – 8 11 2

Labernik, Buckanaga (W) (2), Hovila (7) and Weidemann. K-4, BB-5

Merrill (L), Schaefer (2), Sanders (3), Storm (6) and L.Sanders, C.Sanders (2), Matter (3). K-5, BB-6

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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