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PREP BASEBALL: Bemidji, Brainerd set for section rematch Monday

BEMIDJI — The Section 8-3A baseball playoffs continue Monday at Putz Field in St. Cloud and the top two seeds, Brainerd (19-3) and Bemidji (16-4), will battle in the winner’s bracket final at 1:30 p.m.

During the regular season Bemidji and Brainerd split a doubleheader in Bemidji. The Warriors dominated the first game 12-2 but BHS bounced back to take the nightcap 4-2.

Monday’s winner will advance to the section championship series while the loser will be bounced into the elimination round and will need to win three more games to claim the section title.

Monday’s loser’s bracket contests find No. 8 St. Michael (12-10) facing No. 6 St. Cloud Tech (14-8) and No. 3 Alexandria (16-6) squaring off against No. 5 Moorhead (13-10). Those losers will be eliminated while the winners will tangle at 1:30 p.m. Monday for the right to face the Bemidji-Brainerd loser.

Bemidji has been tested in both of its section games but the Lumberjacks have been able to rally for a victory each time.

In their opener the Jacks trailed Big Lake 4-0 before scoring eight unanswered runs on way to an 8-4 triumph. Thursday night St. Cloud Tech forged a 3-0 advantage only to see Bemidji battle back and win 6-5.

The strong defense of the outfielders was instrumental in the victory. Parker Lucas saved a run in the first inning with a diving catch on the line and a perfect throw to the plate to nail a runner trying to tag and score from third.

In the fifth inning Collin Rutledge sprinted to the gap in right-center and sprawled to make a sensational catch and with two out in the seventh inning Dan Johnson saved at least two runs with a highlight-reel catch in right field.

Top-seeded Brainerd has had an easier run to Monday’s winner’s bracket final as the Warriors blitzed St. Michael-Albertville 8-2 in their opener and then blanked Moorhead 4-0 on Thursday.

Bagley unbeaten in Class A

Bagley and Red Lake County will square off 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the BSU diamond in the Section 8A winner’s bracket final and the winner will advance to Thursday’s championship series.

The Flyers (13-9) are the No. 2 seed from the East Sub-Section and have won their first three playoff games, beating Cass Lake-Bena 12-2, Blackduck 9-4 and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 16-2. Red Lake County (18-4) is the top seed from the West Sub-Section and has beaten NCE 6-2, Kittson County Central 11-7 and Norman County 5-4.

In Tuesday’s elimination games Blackduck (13-7) will face Norman County (18-4) and WHA (14-5) will meet KCC (8-6).

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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