Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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Connor McNallan tossed a five-hit shutout in the opener and Collin Rutledge pitched a three-hit shutout in the second game as the Bemidji VFW baseball team posted a pair of 9-0 victories over Perham Thursday at the BSU diamond. Thursday's wins upped the VFW's record to 16-8 and it will try to improve upon that mark Saturday when it heads to Thief River Falls for a doubleheader. Bemidji took control early in both halves of Thursday's doubleheader, scoring three first-inning runs in each. Nick Hovila started the Vets on their winnings ways in the first game as he singled and stole second.
By Pat Miller Pioneer Sports Writer A full Wednesday of baseball at the BSU diamond ended on a successful note for the Bemidji Legion as the home team captured the sub-district championship by downing Nisswa 5-4 and Brainerd 5-3. The championship wasn't assured until 10:30 p.m. when Bemidji pitcher Trent Baker blew a fast ball past Brainerd's Drew Stennes for the final out. Brainerd and Nisswa each finished 1-1 Wednesday and squared off Thursday in the final elimination game at Brainerd.
The Bemidji Legion baseball team captured the Sub-District 6-1 North championship Wednesday at the BSU diamond by rallying past Nisswa 5-4 in the afternoon session and downing Brainerd 5-3 in Wednesday's late winner's bracket final. The Legion will begin district play July 20. Brainerd gained the winner's bracket contest by stopping Little Falls 12-2 earlier Wednesday. Brainerd will play Nisswa at noon today for second place and a berth in the district tournament.
Drew Peterson allowed only three hits and the Bemidji VFW offense struck for three runs in each of the first two innings on way to a 7-1 home victory over Fergus Falls in the opening game of Tuesday's doubleheader. Bemidji captured the nightcap 9-2 to improve to 14-8. It will return home 2 p.m. Thursday for two games against Perham. Peterson did not allow a hit until Fergus Falls bunched three of them in the upper sixth.
The Bemidji VFW baseball team will be home today and Thursday as the Vets tangle with Fergus Falls and Perham. Today's doubleheader against Fergus Falls is set for a 1 p.m. start while Thursday's twinbill will begin at 2 p.m. Bemidji, 12-8, dropped Saturday's doubleheader against the Fargo Bombers Legion team in Fargo, by scores of 11-3 and 11-4. The home teamforged a 6-0 lead after two innings of the opener and never looked back. Bemidji scored a run in the third on Nick Hovila's double and Billy Baumgartner's single.
The Bemidji Legion tied for first place in its pool with a 3-2 record at last weekend's Gopher Classic but Bemidji officially finished third in the six-team bracket because of criteria. Mankato, Apple Valley and Meridan, Idaho joined Bemidji with a 3-2 record. Mankato and Apple Valley, however, defeated Bemidji during pool play and were awarded the top two spots. Trailing the leaders in the pool standings were Mitchell, S.D. at 2-3 and Minneapolis Southwest at 1-4. Mankato was awarded the pool's entry into the tournament's final 16 playdowns.
The baseball gods did not shine on the Bemidji Legion Friday morning in its opening game of the Gopher Classic as the Legion dropped a 5-4 decision to Mankato National. In Friday's afternoon round Bemidji fared better as it scored in the bottom of the seventh to nip Meridian, Idaho 6-5. In the Mankato game Bemidji ripped nine hits and had eight of its batters reach via the walk but those opportunities were countered by five ground-ball double plays turned by Mankato. "The double plays were the difference," said Legion coach Mike Fogelson.
The VFW baseball team split a doubleheader at Detroit Lakes Thursday and will take an 11-5 record into today's twinbill in Fargo. The Vets won Thursday's opener 5-2 but dropped the rematch 5-4. Connor McNallan pitched a complete game in the first game, yielding three hits and three walks while striking out four. Detroit Lakes scored its two runs in the second inning but Bemidji answered with a pair in the upper third. Nick Hovila started the rally with a single and, after stealing second, scored courtesy of Billy Baumgartner's single.
With the top seed in the sub-district tournament and home field advantage secured the Bemidji Legion baseball team can turn its attention to this weekend's Gopher Classic tournament in the Twin Cities. The event will feature 66 teams in 11 pools at 11 different sites and each team will play the other five in its pool during the next three days. The 11 pool champions and five wild-card teams among the runners-up will advance to a single-elimination event beginning Monday.
Bemidji State's inaugural hockey season as a member of the WCHA was an unqualified success in the opinions of the players, coaches and fans.