AMATEUR BASEBALL: Isaiah Biehn, Blue Ox shut out Marble, improve to 8-1
Oxen are generally considered consistent creatures. With their strength and stamina, they can be relied upon for hours at a time.
BEMIDJI – Oxen are generally considered consistent creatures. With their strength and stamina, they can be relied upon for hours at a time.
The Bemidji Blue Ox amateur baseball team lived up to that reputation on Tuesday at the BSU baseball field. Really, they have all season – they entered 7-1 this year. And Bemidji continued plowing through its opponents on Tuesday, taking advantage of some early-inning scoring and Isaiah Biehn’s eight shutout innings to beat Marble 4-0.
“Isaiah is (new) on the team this year,” player/manager Cody Rutledge said. “It's great to have the young guys step up like that. Our pitching staff consists of a very young team this year, a bunch of 18-, 19-year-olds that just graduated high school and are pitching this year at the collegiate level. So it really helps having those guys. … He had one hell of an outing tonight.”
Biehn flummoxed the Mallards with a blend of pitches, changing speeds and navigating traffic in multiple innings. Every time Marble had a chance to score, he kept them off the board, allowing himself to pitch deep into the contest.
“In the early innings of the game, my fastball and my change of speed with the changeup really helped me throughout the game,” said Biehn, a 2021 Bemidji High School graduate and now a member of the Bemidji State baseball team. “I tried to mix a lot of pitches, and that seemed to really help.”
And when the Mallards flocked the bases with runners, Biehn put his head down and got the job done.
“When I just kind of locked down and tried to hit my spots, not really overthrow anymore, (I was successful),” Biehn said. “Being able to mix pitches and then just get those guys swinging into ground balls where they can’t advance runners really helped.”
The Blue Ox’s early offense was also helpful with establishing a strong foothold early in the game. Mitch Hendricks led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, then advanced to third on Rutledge’s double. Caleb Manecke drove them home with a two-run double, then Bazil Zuehlke batted in Manecke with a single to put Bemidji (8-1) up 3-0.
The Blue Ox added on in the second, with Connor McNallan plating JD Kondos on a single.
That was all the run support Biehn would need for his eight sterling innings, and Brandon Lussier shut the door in the ninth with a scoreless frame.
“We’ve got three guys in the bottom end of our rotation here that we did not have last year,” Rutledge said. “And that just gives us extra arms throughout the games where we can pull a guy in the sixth inning and know we got a couple more guys behind him.”
Bemidji has recently had a reputation as an offensive team, and while that piece of the puzzle is coming around, the Blue Ox are treasuring the newfound confidence they have in the men they send to the mound.
“As a coach, it's really easy that way,” Rutledge said. “You get up a few runs and you’ve got a pitching staff with three, four arms and one guy struggles, the next guy's going to pick him up every time. It's really nice to see that from these guys.”
Bemidji next faces Hibbing in a doubleheader starting at noon on Sunday, July 10, in Hibbing.
Bemidji 4, Marble 0
MAR 000 000 000 – 0-9-1
BEM 310 000 00X – 4-10-0
WP: Biehn (8 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K)
LP: Gerber (CG, 8 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)