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Bemidji High School baseball: Stevens leads Lumberjacks to 7-3 victory over TRF

Ryan Stevens earned the pitching victory Monday as the junior tossed five shutout innings. He struck out 11 and walked only two to help the Jacks down TRF 7-3. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Last Thursday the Bemidji baseball team lost 7-6 at Brainerd. Monday the Lumberjacks downed Thief River Falls 7-3 at the Bemidji State University diamond.

Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson, however, found more satisfaction with the loss to Brainerd.

"I was much happier on Thursday," Fogelson said. "On Monday our energy wasn't where it needed to be. I wasn't disappointed with how we played as much as the fact that we didn't have any energy."

Behind five strong innings from starting pitcher Ryan Stevens Bemidji opened a 7-0 advantage. The Prowlers made things interesting, however, with two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh. The game ended with the tying run on the on-deck circle.

"Realistically, the game should have been over after five innings with Bemidji winning 10-0 and Ryan getting a complete game," Fogelson said. "When you look at the board at the end of the game you see 11 hits on Bemidji's side but that was deceiving. We need to play with more energy. We need to set our standards higher."

Stevens was dominant during his five innings and the Prowlers advanced only one runner as far as third. The junior right-hander allowed only two hits, walked two and struck out 11.

He was forced to work out of trouble in the second when Brady Johnson opened the stanza with a double but three strikeouts eliminated that threat.

In the fourth a walk, single and an outfield error gave Thief River Falls runners at the corners with two down but the threat fizzled when Nick Cevantes grounded to Mitch Hendricks at third.

Bemidji opened the scoring without the benefit of a hit in the first inning as Hendricks walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground ball and scored on a wild pitch.

In the third inning Jeremiah Graves walked, gained third courtesy of Tyler Follis' double and scored as Cody Rutledge grounded to short.

Cole Bardwell and Hendricks singled in runs in the BHS fourth and the Jacks added three insurance runs in the fifth, an inning that featured RBI singles by Collin Leif and Hendricks plus safeties by Follis, Matt Hietala and Tyler Tatro.

The visitors made things interesting with two in the sixth and another in the seventh off reliever Josh Kane but Chad Head was able to earn a save by fanning Spencer Wiseth to end the game.

"Defensively we were solid and the pitchers did a nice job," Fogelson said. "If we had played with more energy the score would have been different. I know we'll have to play at a higher level at Grand Rapids Tuesday."

The coach plans to throw Rutledge against Grand Rapids today. He should have a fully rested staff when the Lumberjacks play at Sartell and Sauk Rapids on Saturday.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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