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BASEBALL: Legion drops four games at Grand Rapids tourney

GRAND RAPIDS -- The shorthanded Bemidji Legion baseball team finished 0-4 over the weekend at the Grand Rapids Invitational. The tournament attracted many of the top teams in the state and Bemidji faced four of the state powers on Friday and Saturday.

"I think many of the teams in this field will challenge for the championships in their district tournaments," said Bemidji coach Nate Blumhagen. "This is a quality field and it is too bad that we were shorthanded."

Among the players who were missing over the weekend were shortstop James Hendricks (football camp), first baseman Lucas Goins (football camp) and pitcher/first baseman Ryan Hirt (Lions All Star Series tournament).

"We also lost (catcher) Tom Revering because of a hand injury in the third game and that hurt us," Blumhagen said. "But we did some good things against good competition. We also found some areas that we need to work on so it was a good tournament for us."

Revering hurt his thumb against North St. Paul and the severity of the injury will be determined later this week.

In Friday's openers the Legion lost 5-4 to Elk River and 10-0 to Edina. On Saturday Bemidji was nipped 7-6 by North St. Paul and 6-2 by New Ulm.

In Friday's first game both teams managed seven hits and Bemidji was a hit away from taking the lead in the top of the seventh after scoring one run and leaving the bases filled.

The Legion did score a pair in the second as Connor McNallan doubled and Revering, Tony Geerdes and Parker Lucas all singled.

In the fifth inning Lucas singled, Dan Johnson bunted him to second and Erik Fitzgerald singled in the lead runner. The Legion scored its final run in the seventh as Johnson and Fitzgerald were hit by pitches and Collin Rutledge singled home Johnson.

Rutledge went the distance on the Legion mound, fanning six and walking five.

Bemidji struggled in its next start as Edina opened a 4-0 lead after two innings and padded the cushion with four in the fourth and two in the fifth.

The Legion scratched out only two hits as McNallan doubled and Revering singled.

Seth Anderson was the losing pitcher.

In Saturday's opener North St. Paul scored five times in the top of the seventh to force extra innings and eventually won the game in the eighth with the help of a double, passed ball and a sacrifice fly.

North St. Paull took a 1-0 lead in the fourth but Bemidji answered with a run in the lower fifth as Fitzgerald walked, Rutledge singled, McNallan was intentionally walked and Geerdes delivered an RBI single.

The Legion erupted for four runs in the sixth and setting the table was Parker Lucas who singled. After Rutledge reached on an error and McNallan walked to load the bases, Matt Morgan coaxed a walk to score Lucas and Geerdes followed with a 3-run double.

North St. Paull took a 6-5 lead with five runs in the top of the seventh but the Legion responded with a run in its half of the frame when Fitzgerald doubled home Nate Larson who had opened the inning with a bunt single.

McNallan pitched all eight innings and was tagged with the loss. Geerdes contributed a double, two singles and four RBIs. Fitzgerald added a double and a single while Rutledge finished with two singles.

The weekend ended with a 6-2 loss to New Ulm. Bemidji scored a run in the first inning when Larson was hit by a pitch, stole second and McNallan singled.

In the fifth, singles by Cody Anderson, Lucas and Larson combined for a run.

Larson paced the offense with two singles.

Bemidji returns to duty Wednesday when it hosts Alexandria in a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.

Grand Rapids Invitational

Bemidji 020 010 1 - 4 7 3

Elk River 202 010 x - 5 7 0

Rutledge (L) and Revering. K-6, BB-5

Bemidji 000 00 - 10 2 1

Edina 310 42 - 10 12 0

S.Anderson (L), Revering (4) and Revering, Morgan (4). K-1, BB-2

N.St. Paul 000 100 51 - 7 7 2

Bemidji 000 014 10 - 6 14 4

McNallan (L) and Revering, Morgan (4). K-7, BB-3

Bemidji 100 010 0 - 2 7 1

New Ulm 202 002 x - 6 11 1

Morgan (L) and C.Anderson. K-2, BB-5

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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