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BASEBALL: Bemidji drops two; goes 1-2 on road trip

Bemidji’s Billy Baumgartner hit a bases-loaded single for the Lumberjacks in the first inning of their game against Elk River. The Lumberjacks lost to the Elks by a score of 11-10. Bruce Strand | Elk River Star News

ELK RIVER — During Friday’s season-opening 5-2 victory at Minneapolis South the Bemidji High School baseball team played a crisp game and made all of the plays.

Saturday at Champlin Park and Elk River, however, the Lumberjacks struggled on the mound and, at times, in the field.

The result was a pair of setbacks — 6-0 to Champlin Park and 11-10 to Elk River.

Part of Bemidji’s problems can be traced to a pair of unexpected injuries. Senior Connor McNallan awoke with a sore hand and did not play in either game. The injury is believed to have happened when he made a tag on a Minneapolis South player during Friday’s victory. It also is on the same hand that he broke during the basketball season.

In the loss to Elk River James Hendricks started on the mound but he lasted only three batters. On one of his pitches Hendricks felt pain in his elbow and BHS coach Mike Fogelson was forced to go with a reliever early in the contest.

“This season we have many new faces on the roster and we had to use them because of the injuries,” Fogelson said.

“But we were able to gain valuable experience. Now we need to get everybody healthy in a hurry. Hopefully these injuries are not serious and everybody will be okay.”

Elk River 11, Bemidji 10

The Lumberjacks took advantage of some shaky pitching and defense by the Elks to forge an 8-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. But BHS returned the favor during the final three innings and Elk River was able to stage a comeback.

The Elks eventually took an 11-9 lead with three unearned runs in the fifth and Bemidji could only manage one run in the final two innings.

Collin Rutledge’s run-scoring triple and RBI singles by Devin Barrett and Billy Baumgartner highlighted a 4-run first inning. Baumgartner added another RBI hit in the second.

A pair of Elk River errors helped the Jacks score two runs in the fourth and take an 8-3 cushion but the home team turned five walks and two errors into eight runs and an 11-9 lead after five innings.

Mark Fenner walked to open the sixth and eventually scored courtesy of an error but Bemidji’s rally fell one run short.

Rutledge contributed a triple and a single while Cody Labernik, Barrett and Baumgartner each had two singles.

Champlin Park 6, Bemidji 0

In Saturday’s opening game Bemidji fell to Champlin Park 6-0.

Offensively BHS managed only singles by Nick Hovila, Tom Revering and Parker Lucas.

The hits by Revering and Lucas came in the third inning and produced Bemidji’s lone scoring threat.

Champlin Park, however, worked out of a two-on with two-out jam.

The home team took control early as it scored four runs in the first inning and added another in the second.

Bemidji starting pitcher Ryan Hirt had trouble with his control as the junior walked five and hit two batters in two innings of work.

Brady Eckman relieved in the third and allowed one run in four innings.

Bemidji 420 211 0 – 10 10 3

Elk River 020 530 x – 11 8 4

Hendricks, Labernik (1), Anderson (4) (L 0-1) and Weidemann. K-0, BB-9

Meyer, Gonrowski (1), Hollom (2), Nyquist (6) (W) and Morrell. K-7, BB-8

Bemidji 000 000 0 - 0 3 0

Champlin Park 410 100 x – 6 5 0

Hirt (L 0-1), Eckman (3) and Revering. K-2, BB-5

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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