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Bemidji High School Thursday preview: Baseball, tennis, softball at home in today's games

All seven Bemidji High School sports teams are in action today and enjoying the home spotlight will be the tennis, baseball and softball squads.

The tennis team will entertain East Grand Forks while the baseball team will host Hibbing at BSU and the softball squad will play Grand Rapids.

Each of the home events will start at 4:30 p.m.

The boys and girls track teams will head to Alexandria as will the boys golfers. The girls golf team will play at The Preserve in Pequot Lakes.

After analyzing East Grand Forks' lineup BHS tennis coach Scott Engelstad decided to strengthen his doubles teams.

"I try to figure out the best way we match up with an opponent and against East Grand Forks I decided to put our eggs in one basket and that was the doubles," Engelstad said.

A likely lineup will see Adam Holter and Kyle Fodness at first doubles, Justin Byers and Levi Rickert at second and Joey Wood teaming with Ben Kloha at third.

The probable singles alignment will feature Ben Hollter at first, Hayden Byers at second, Alec Hess at third and Tim Paulus at fourth.

Bemidji will take a 4-2 record and a three-game winning streak into today's contest. The Lumberjacks are coming off Tuesday's 12-9 victory at Moorhead.

BHS profited from eight walks and four Moorhead errors led to four unearned runs.

Zach Solheim is scheduled to start on the mound today.

The softball team is 5-2 after Tuesday's 7-0 victory over Moorhead. Jess Yost pitched five scoreless innings in the win and allowed only two hits.

Offensively, Summer Monsrud ripped three hits and Jineane Williams, Janelle Williams and Chelsea Johnson each collected two.

Bemidji's boys team will head to Alexandria while the girls will play at The Preserve in Pequot Lakes.

Seniors Kevin Larson, Joe Welle and Rylee Curb will be joined by juniors Kaleb Hanson and Max Hazelton plus sophomore Trey Dale.

Hazelton earned the sixth lineup spot after nine holes of team qualifying this week.

The Lumberjacks played well in their season-opening action last week at Blueberry Pines and coach Eric Niskanen is hoping to see a similar performance.

"It would be nice to continue with the positives we had at Blueberry," Niskanen said. "I'm hoping for good things and I'm excited to see how we play at Alexandria this year.

"Alexandria is usually a couple of weeks ahead of us in terms of opening and when we play here we have not had much time outdoors," Niskanen said. "We usually have trouble adjusting to the tricky greens. But this year we have had plenty of practice time on the Bemidji Town & Country Club course so we should be better prepared."

The boys and girls track teams will also be in Alexandria and boys coach Steve Sneide views the meet as an opportunity to test his athletes in different events.

"We're using it as a fun meet," Sneide said. "We're letting the kids choose their own events. If an athlete wants to try something different, this is the opportunity."

Bemidji's 4x800 relay team of John Buckanaga, Alex Schoneberger, Matt Lee and Jake Urban will not make the trip as the quartet will be at Hamline Friday for an elite meet. Schoneberger will also compete in the 800 at Hamline.

"We're excited about sending those athletes to Hamline," Sneide said. "This is a chance for them to test themselves against the state's best competition."

Girls coach Chris Lehman is hoping to see quality times from his athletes and also plans to place girls in different events.

"We saw some very good stuff last week at Moorhead and we saw some ugly stuff," Lehman said. "Hopefully, we can get everybody performing up to their capabilities. I don't expect to see personal records from everybody but I would like to see good times."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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