BASEBALL: Sabres steal marquee win as Bemidji loses 5th straight
After a 10-0 start to the year, Bemidji has lost five games in four days for its first skid that long since 2016.
SARTELL -- The magic of a no-hitter dissipated, the lead crumbled away and the sting of a hard loss in a big moment flooded the visiting dugout.
That one turned awry in a hurry.
“It just didn’t happen today,” Bemidji High School baseball coach Mike Fogelson said. “It’s been a tough week, but I think we’re going to learn a lot from it and be better for it.”
BHS lost 3-1 at Sartell-St. Stephen on Thursday in a matchup of Class 3A’s second-ranked Lumberjacks and third-ranked Sabres. After a 10-0 start to the year, Bemidji has lost five games in four days for its first skid that long since 2016.
“You (can) get stuck in a little funk. You can’t over-emphasize it,” Fogelson said. “I think this is really good for us, because this is how the playoffs will look and feel. Losses now don’t mean that much, so long that we don’t let them beat us down and we learn from it.”
Isaiah Biehn was dealing with a masterful no-hitter through five, but Sartell-St. Stephen (11-2) finally solved him in the sixth inning and scored three runs with the aid of two errors.
Kalen Lewis broke up the no-no with a sharp leadoff single, and Biehn then sailed a throw to second base on an ensuing sacrifice bunt. Another sac bunt brought up Charlie Kent, who cracked a double to the gap and flipped the Sabres’ 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Kent later scored from third on a two-out fielding error by shortstop Brandon Lussier.
“I don’t even know how far back it goes, but (Biehn) has been unhittable for a long time. He really had them,” Fogelson said. “Two really unfortunate misplays by us on defense or we win this game. … If we make those two outs, we walk out of here with a win. But that’s why you play the game.”
Parker Mistic singled in the seventh to bring the tying run to the plate, but the bottom of the order couldn’t generate any magic with their backs against the wall.
The finish outshined a strong start from BHS, which Biehn headlined from the mound. Grant Declusin singled in Ben Corradi in the second inning, and Biehn nearly did the rest all on his own.
Biehn mixed up his pitches no matter the count, throwing the heater and the offspeed alike for strikes. He worked quickly, finding a rhythm and sticking to it, and he racked up seven strikeouts by game’s end. He was perfect through four and faced the minimum through five, picking off a baserunner to make up for issuing a fifth-inning walk.
But Biehn didn’t have any room for error, which suddenly proved costly in the sixth.
“We had chances to score runs. When you’re ahead 1-0, you can’t be satisfied,” Fogelson said. “That was the thing. I know we were trying to do it, and it’s not a question of the effort. You’ve got to extend your lead because they’re a good team over there. They’re not going to quit.”
Biehn allowed three runs (one earned) off two hits, all in the sixth inning. Nine days removed from a five-inning perfect game against Alexandria, Biehn came oh-so close to replicating his success on an arguably bigger stage.
Instead, round one went to the Sabres in a potential Section 8-3A championship preview.
“It’s going to be a fun section (tournament). I’m looking forward to seeing these guys again,” Fogelson said. “I know we’re super disappointed. … They’re going to keep practicing hard. I love this team. We’re going to be fine.”
Bemidji returns to action at 4 p.m. Monday, May 17, with a road contest at Detroit Lakes.
Sartell-St. Stephen 3, Bemidji 1
BHS 010 000 0 -- 1-5-2
SSS 000 003 X -- 3-2-1
WP: Phelps-Hemmesch (6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
LP: I. Biehn (CG, 6 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)