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BASEBALL: Bemidji does 'just enough' to beat Brainerd, 3-2

Bemidji’s Billy Baumgartner slides around Brainerd catcher Nate DeChaine in the third inning Wednesday night at the Bemidji State baseball diamond. The Lumberjacks held on to beat the Warriors 3-2. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Drew Peterson got himself out of a few jams Wednesday afternoon.

The Bemidji senior started for the Lumberjacks in their game against section foe Brainerd and scatted eight hits over the course of seven innings. He also walked four Warriors hitters.

More than a few times Wednesday, Peterson put himself into some sticky situations. But every time, he got himself out of hit with a perfectly-placed pitch.

Peterson gave up two runs — just one earned — and the Lumberjacks held on to defeat the Warriors 3-2 at the BSU Baseball Diamond.

“Drew did a great job on the mound today,” Bemidji head coach Mike Fogelson said. “He did a nice job of minimizing the damage for us. Whenever they got runners he made the pitches to get us out of it.”

Peterson loaded the bases in the fifth inning and gave up just one run. Then, in the seventh inning, he gave up a leadoff single to Brainerd’s Luke Boran, who came around to score following a walk, a fielders’ choice and an error on Bemidji shortstop Connor McNallan.

The run in the seventh inning cut Bemidji’s lead from 3-1 to 3-2.

With two outs, Peterson had to face Brainerd’s No. 7 hitter, Paxton Beadle. Beadle worked the count to 2-2 before looking at a called strike three with runners at the corners.

“Drew was able to strike some guys out and make some big pitches,” Fogelson said. “He and (catcher Mitch Buckanaga) did a nice job working together and calling the game today.”

The Lumberjacks (6-6) had just three hits in the game compared to eight for the Warriors (8-5), but Brainerd committed five errors in the game and the Lumberjacks took advantage, scoring two runs thanks to Brainerd defensive miscues.

“Errors always hurt you,” Brainerd head coach Lowell Scearcy said. “In high school games especially, errors and walks are the difference. We made a few too many today and Bemidji didn’t.”

The Lumberjacks scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings.

Buckanaga drew a leadoff walk in the second inning off Brainerd starting pitcher Jagar Hansen.

Courtesy runner Adam Lewis came home after stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch and scoring on an Austin Weidermann sacrifice fly.

In the third inning, Billy Baumgardner led off with a single and scored thanks to a throwing error later in the inning by Brainerd third baseman Drew Sannes.

The Lumberjacks took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning on the strangest combination of errors in the game.

With two outs, Parker Lucas hit what appeared to be an easy pop-up to center. It should have ended the inning. Instead, the ball popped out of the glove of Warrior centerfielder Dalton Tibbets, giving the Lumberjacks some life.

Nick Hovila made Bemidji’s good fortune count when he hit a single down the first base line.

Right fielder Beau Janousek picked up the ball but missed the cutoff man.

Lucas took third on the errant throw. The ball stopped near the third base dugout and when Lucas noticed no one covering the place, he raced home to make it 3-0.

The score remained 3-0 until the Warriors finally got on the board in the fifth inning.

“They made a few mistakes,” Fogelson said of the Brainerd defense. “We did just enough to win.

“They’re a good team who usually scores a lot more runs than that. So we’re glad we were able to hold them to just two.”

Hansen took the loss for Brainerd, giving up just three hits in six innings but walking six batters and striking out only one.

Hovila, Baumgardner and Devin Barrett had the three hits for the Lumberjacks, all singles.

Peterson struck out four in seven innings of work to earn the win for Bemidji.

“It was a well-pitched game,” Brainerd coach Scearcy said. “Hanson pitched very well and their guy really stepped up for them.”

The Lumberjacks return to the field this weekend when they will host the Des Sagedahl Wood Bat Classic Friday and Saturday.

Bemidji will take on Maple Grove and Duluth East Friday night before hosting Roseau Saturday in the final game of the round-robin tournament.

Bemidji 3, Brainerd 2

Brainerd 000 010 1 – 2 8 5

Bemidji 011 100 x – 3 3 1

Hansen (L) and DeChaine. K-1, BB-6.

Peterson (W) and Buckanaga. K-4, BB-4.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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