Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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A nine-game road trip which included five games in St. Cloud, two in Perham and two more in Nisswa, ends today when the Bemidji Legion hosts Thief River Falls. Today's action was originally scheduled as a double-header beginning at 5 p.m. but, because of the Legion's recent hectic schedule which includes Thursday's home twinbill against Brainerd, today's game is likely to be switched to one 9-inning contest. The game time is still expected to be 5 p.m. In Tuesday's late action the Legion was at Nisswa.
Despite seeing his team lose three of four games at last weekend's tournament in Grand Forks, VFW coach Brad Johnson considered the weekend a success. Friday the Vets fell 9-7 to Winnipeg and 6-5 to Beulah, N.D. After having Saturday off Bemidji played two more games on Sunday, dropping a rematch to Beulah 9-6 and defeating Mandan 3-1. Both Sunday games were five innings because event organizers wanted to conserve time. "Our goal never was to win this tournament," Johnson said. "Our objective was to improve by playing better teams.
Bemidji's Legion baseball team split its first four games at this weekend's tournament in St. Cloud and will play for the consolation crown 11:30 a.m. today against either Willmar or Rochester. Those teams were battling in Saturday's late game and the winner will take on Bemidji. Willmar was one of Bemidji's victims in pool play as the Legion blitzed Willmar 15-3 Friday night. Earlier Friday the Legion lost to Spring Lake Park 5-2. Saturday saw Bemidji lose an 8-inning, 10-9 decision to Cold Spring to complete pool play.
The Bemidji VFW baseball team tested itself against Legion competition Friday as the Vets played in the Montgomery Memorial tournament in Grand Forks. Although Bemidji dropped both starts, coach Brad Johnson believes the games will provide lasting benefits. "Our main goal isn't to win the tournament," Johnson said. "Our goal is to improve and playing against older kids and the good competition we face in this tournament will help us get better." During Friday's action Bemidji lost 9-7 to Manitoba and 6-5 in eight innings to Beulah, N.D.
The Bemidji Legion baseball team dropped its opener at this weekend's tournament in St. Cloud, falling 5-2 to Spring Lake Park in Friday's first round. Bemidji returned to action Friday evening when it battled Willmar. The Legion was ahead 9-0 in the top of the third inning when thunderstorms and heavy rain forced a weather delay. Today the Legion will complete its pool-play schedule when it tangles with Cold Spring at 11:30 a.m.
The Lake Bemidji waterfront will be alive with activity this weekend as the community celebrates the 20th anniversary of Fishing Has No Boundaries. It has survived this long because of the need, the volunteers who recognized that need and the reward that comes to all who are involved. Among the dedicated volunteers is Vance Balstad who has been among the event's organizers the past 20 years. "We look forward to this event every year," Balstad said.
The Bemidji State University Athletic Hall of Fame features 170 former athletes. The list ranges from Dr. Irvin Keeler who graduated in 1923 to 1985 grad Pam (Gildersleeve) Porter. Each of the school's athletic programs is represented and the honored athletes have made their mark in hundreds of professions and locals. The Hall of Fame members took many different paths to Bemidji State and its athletic programs, but two of them followed the same trail, starting the journey in Hibbing and ending it in the special fraternity. One of them was Ken "Babe" Sherman; the other was Jack Luoma.
The Bemidji VFW collected a pair of road victories Wednesday, sweeping Fergus Falls 5-1 and 7-3. Cody Jenkins went the distance on the mound in the opener, fanning seven and walking three. The teams were tied 1-1 heading into the seventh when the VFW scored four runs. Nick Conner began the winning rally with a single and Sam Dwyer and Mitch Buckanaga followed with bunt singles to load the bases. Mark Fenner plated a pair with a single and Nick Hovila drove in two more with his single. Bemidji didn't need a final-inning rally to win the rematch as the VFW scored single runs in the first, s
Cody Rutledge played part of the Bemidji High School baseball season with a stiff arm and when the Legion campaign began the decision was made to approach the summer with caution. Early in the Legion schedule Rutledge served as the designated hitter but recently he returned to his familiar position in center field. Wednesday night at the BSU diamond in the first game of a doubleheader against Nisswa Rutledge gave convincing evidence that his arm is completely healed. The right-hander tossed a no-hit shutout during his five innings of work and that effort powered the Legion to a 3-1 victory.
Fresh off Monday's doubleheader sweep at Detroit Lakes the Bemidji VFW heads to Fergus Falls today for a pair of games beginning at 1 p.m. Bemidji will take a 4-0 record into the twinbill following Monday's 11-3 and 28-14 victories. In Monday's nightcap Bemidji scored 10 runs in the second inning to forge a 10-2 advantage but saw Detroit Lakes answer with 12 runs in the next three frames to regain the lead. The VFW countered, however, with eight in the fifth and settled the issue with nine in the seventh. "The way I look at it, you are never out of a game," VFW coach Brad Johnson said.