Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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The Bemidji baseball team will head south today for a pair of games at two different sites. The Lumberjacks will visit Sartell for a noon contest and, when that game is over, they will take a bus ride to Sauk Rapids for another game. "We expect to play two quality teams and that is exactly what I am hoping to see," said BHS coach Mike Fogelson. "Hopefully, we will pitch and our defense will continue to be strong. Our goal this weekend will be to improve offensively.
Chaska scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to hand the Bemidji softball team a 7-6 setback Friday in Chaska. The Lumberjacks gave the home team all it could handle and BHS coach Brad Takkunen was pleased with the effort. "It was a good game," Takkunen said, "especially in response to the way we played Tuesday against Detroit Lakes." Bemidji will continue its road trip to the Twin Cities today when it battles Mounds View at 11 a.m. and Tartan at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Chaska Bemidji scored three in the first and two in the second.
Prior to Friday's season-opening meet for the Bemidji boys golfers at Blueberry Pines coach Eric Niskanen thought the Lumberjacks could have a few rounds in the 70s. Kevin Larson and Joe Welle proved him right as they tied for third with 77s and helped the Jacks capture the team title. Bemidji finished at 319 and edged Roseau which fired 320. Grand Rapids shot 329 and Warroad 351. "Before the meet I tried to figure out what we would shoot and, when you consider the problems caused by the steady wind, many of the players shot as I anticipated," Niskanen said.
The Bemidji boys tennis team split a pair of home matches Thursday, falling to Grand Rapids 5-2 and thumping Park Rapids 6-1. Grand Rapids defeated Park Rapids 7-0. "As a coach you always decide on how you best can get four points and against Grand Rapids I thought a strong singles lineup would be our best chance," said BHS coach Scott Englestad. "We won two of the singles matches and lost the other two in three-set tiebreakers. And those matches determined the team win." Kyle Fodness at third singles and Justin Byers at fourth singles posted Bemidji's victories.
The Bemidji boys golf team will begin its campaign 1 p.m. today at Blueberry Pines and coach Eric Niskanen's lineup will feature players who were on the section squad last season. "These players earned the right to open this season," Niskanen said. The group includes seniors Kevin Larson, Joe Welle and Rylee Curb, junior Caleb Hanson plus sophomores Jake Hoffman and Trey Dale. Joining Bemidji at today's meet will be Roseau, Warroad and Grand Rapids. "I'm expecting to see some up-and-down scores but, overall, I am expecting quality rounds," Niskanen said.
Anglers in the Bemidji area can pick and choose what species to target once the walleye, northern pike, muskie and bass seasons open but at this time of the year the options are limited. The unusually early spring has resulted in expanded opportunities to look for sunfish, crappies and perch but for many area anglers mid-April is the time to head to the streams and plop a worm or a fly into the pools where brook, rainbow and brown trout are waiting. The stream trout season opens Saturday and fishermen are allowed to keep five trout.
Grand Rapids rallied with four runs in the final three innings to down the Bemidji baseball team 4-1 Tuesday in Grand Rapids. The loss dropped the Lumberjacks to 1-2 on the season. Bemidji will try to improve on that record Saturday when it plays at Sartell at noon and at Sauk Rapids at 2:30 p.m. "We had only four hits and, obviously, that's not going to be enough to win many games," said BHS coach Mike Fogelson. "But we hit the ball very well at times.
After two encouraging performances to start the season the Bemidji softball team took a step backward Tuesday, according to coach Brad Takkunen. The Lumberjacks posted an 11-6 victory but the coach was not impressed with how his athletes performed. "This game was frustrating to watch because the mistakes we made were mental. They were not-being-into-the-game mistakes," Takkunen said. "We had situations where players who have played the game for five, six or seven years forgot how to throw, catch and communicate.
Last Thursday the Bemidji baseball team lost 7-6 at Brainerd. Monday the Lumberjacks downed Thief River Falls 7-3 at the Bemidji State University diamond. Bemidji coach Mike Fogelson, however, found more satisfaction with the loss to Brainerd. "I was much happier on Thursday," Fogelson said. "On Monday our energy wasn't where it needed to be. I wasn't disappointed with how we played as much as the fact that we didn't have any energy." Behind five strong innings from starting pitcher Ryan Stevens Bemidji opened a 7-0 advantage.
Jess Yost allowed only three runs in seven innings of pitching and ripped three hits in four at-bats to lead the Bemidji softball team to a 4-3 victory at Fergus Falls Monday. The Lumberjacks will take a 2-0 record into today's 4:30 p.m. home game against Detroit Lakes. Yost was working on a shutout until Fergus Falls touched her for three runs in the seventh. The game ended on a come-backer to Yost with the tying run on third base. "Jess did a fabulous job," said BHS coach Brad Takkunen.