BHS baseball excited to start season
BEMIDJI – The temperatures in the Twin Cities area today and Saturday are expected to climb into the 70s and such balmy conditions are exactly what the Bemidji High School baseball team was looking for.
The Lumberjacks plan to take full advantage of the opportunity to finally head outside. Today the Jacks will open their season at 5 p.m. against Minneapolis South at Van Cleve Park in Minneapolis.
On Saturday BHS will travel to Champlin Park for an 11 a.m. game and the Jacks will stop in Elk River on the way home for a 4 p.m. contest.
On Tuesday the Lumberjacks were scheduled to host Grand Forks Central but that game has already been scratched. The original schedule also had Fergus Falls heading to Bemidji on May 3 but what was a single game at the BSU diamond has been switched to a twinbill in Fergus Falls.
“Despite everything that is happening the guys have been working very hard and staying very patient,” said BHS coach Mike Fogelson.
“They deserve to play.
“This weekend’s trip will give us a chance to evaluate some things we haven’t been able to see in the indoor setting.”
Among the aspects of the team that Fogelson will evaluate is the pitching staff. Collin Rutledge will get the starting nod today while Ryan Hirt and James Hendricks are the probable pitchers for Saturday’s games.
This weekend’s set-up pitchers include Brady Eckman, Cody Labernik and Seth Anderson while Connor McNallan will be the closer.
A year ago the Lumberjacks opened the year with an established lineup that carried them to second place in the Class 3A state tournament.
This year, however, little is etched in stone.
“We will be playing multiple guys this weekend so everybody can get some looks,” Fogelson said.
Among the players who will see time at first base are Hirt, Mark Fenner and Labernik.
The candidates at second base include Fenner and Parker Lucas while McNallan will handle the shortstop duties when he’s not on the mound.
Billy Baumgartner and Hendricks will share time at third base.
The outfield candidates include Devin Barrett in left, Nick Hovila in center plus Rutledge and Adam Lewis in right.
Tom Revering will do the bulk of the catching this weekend while Sam Carlson and Austin Weidemann also could be behind the plate.
Track and field
Bemidji’s boys team will compete in three individual events and three relay races today at the Hamline Elite meet.
The day’s highlight could come in the 4x800 relay which will be run at 5:45 p.m. The Lumberjacks are ranked No. 1 in the event based on a seeded time of 8:06.75. A distant second is Wayzata which qualified in 8:12.04.
Running the relay for BHS will be Nick Gubbels, Gunnar Nelson, Sam Carlson and Elias Hendrickson.
The Jacks are seeded fifth in the 4x400 relay as Gubbels, Nelson, Wakinyan Moore and Hendrickson qualified in 3:35.07. Wayzata enters the race as the favorite with a time of 3:26.60.
In the 4x200 relay Bemidji’s quartet of Brady Schmidt, Adam Loisel, Gubbels and Moore are seeded seventh with a time of 1:35.58.
Representing BHS in the individual events are Schmidt in the 100 (seeded 15th), Hendrickson in the 800 (seeded ninth) and Carlson in the 3,200 (seeded 13th).
The Lumberjacks could also challenge for a title in the girls 4x400 as the team of Claire Laakso, Dani Gronhovd, Jenna Truedson and Maea Wall qualified in 4:09.78. The only team with a better qualifying time is Minnetonka which has been clocked in 4:06.74.
Individually Allie Heifort is seeded fourth in the shot put and fifth in the discus, Truedson is ranked fifth in the 1,600 and Amber Peterson is rated eighth in the pole vault.
“The Elite meet is a good opportunity for the kids to see the state’s top kids at the site of the State High School meet,” said BHS girls coach Chris Lehman. “This year is not a typical Elite meet, though, with the winter weather that we’ve had.
“Meet officials took some of last year’s times in some events which bumped a couple of our girls out. We’re excited to go and all of the kids and coaches are looking forward to being on an outdoor track on a beautiful evening in St. Paul,” Lehman added.
The softball team will play five games this weekend. Today the Jacks will have a doubleheader at Monticello and on Saturday they will travel to Zumbrota in southeastern Minnesota for a triple-header.
The day will begin at 10 a.m. against St. Anthony and at noon BHS will face Burnsville. The road trip will end at 2 p.m. with a game against Zumbrota.
Coach Brad Takkunen will be experimenting with his lineup. Among those expected to see extended duty are Paige Conkle, Jasmin Yerbich, Jessa Lusby, Bri Neumann, Kirsten Ballard, Courtney Black, Jess Yost, Jordyn Follis, Hanna Olson, Sylvia Grimm, Karmen Clark and Mariah Dahl.