AMATEUR BASEBALL: Blue Ox sail into state quarterfinals

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Pioneer file photo

MILROY -- The Bemidji Blue Ox advanced into the quarterfinals of the Class C amateur baseball state tournament with an 8-1 win over the Prior Lake Mudcats on Saturday afternoon in Milroy.

With the score tied at 1-1, Bazil Zuehlke blasted a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the fifth to lift the Blue Ox to a 2-1 lead. The homer launched a four-run outburst that later featured a Cody Rutledge RBI single and a Turner Storm two-run double that brought the advantage to 5-1.

Bemidji added three more runs as insurance in the seventh. Storm scored on an error before Zuehlke drove in a pair on a single to finish the day 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Ada draftee Ethan Opsahl pitched a complete game for the Blue Ox, following up the first inning with eight scoreless frames. He fanned four batters and allowed one earned run on nine hits.

Mitch Hendricks totaled three singles to go 3-for-5 on the day, while Storm finished 2-for-4.


Prior Lake starter Johnny Houston pitched five innings, conceding five runs on nine hits with three walks.

Bemidji is set to face the Cold Spring Rockies in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, in Springfield. The Rockies defeated Isanti 3-1 Friday night in the round of 16.

The Blue Ox will look to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2017. With a win, they’d face either Buffalo or Fairmont in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Sunday in Springfield.

The state championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 7, in Springfield.

Bemidji 8, Prior Lake 1

PL 100 000 000 -- 1-9-2

BEM 100 040 30X -- 8-12-1

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