Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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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.
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.
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
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.
The Bemidji Legion's offense threatened in two of the first three innings Tuesday against Perham but the visitors were able to work their way out of the jams. In the next three innings, however, Perham was not as fortunate as Bemidji scored 10 runs during that span and coasted to a 10-0 victory in the opening game of the home doubleheader. Perham, however, gained a split by outlasting Bemidji 12-11 in the nightcap. That opportunistic offense, combined with the shutout pitching of starter Ryan Stevens and reliever Matt Schneider, was more than enough to give Bemidji its sixth victory in nine
Gordy Skaar had a sense of humor and Friday at the fundraising golf tournament that bears his name Skaar, who died in 1992, played a joke on the field of 200. The golfers did not have to contend with tornado-laden skies, large hailstones or buckets of rain. They did, however, have to adjust to winds in excess of 30 miles per hour which continually blew off Lake Bemidji. "In all the years of this tournament we never have had to cancel it because of weather," said Dick Robbins who was a committee member for 10 years. "Each year we ask Gordy to give us good weather.
Tuesday's doubleheader sweep of Roseau that didn't end until 10:30 p.m. may have taken a toll on the Bemidji Legion baseball team. Wednesday the Legion played "sluggish baseball", according to coach Mike Fogelson, in a doubleheader loss at Little Falls. The home team took the opener 10-3 and captured the rematch 7-2. "Little Falls is a good team and they got after us late in each game," Fogelson said. "Little Falls hit the ball and we struggled defensively.
The final numbers haven't been crunched yet but preliminary estimates indicate that last weekend's Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic generated about $30,000 for local charities. "It was a great day for the fishermen, the crowd and the charities," said tournament coordinator Bob Fitzgerald. The event, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, was won by a pair of veteran local anglers - Bob Strand and Dave Hanson.