BASEBALL: Jacks open Sagedahl Classic with convincing win over Grand Rapids
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School baseball team ran circles around the bases and around Grand Rapids during Friday’s 10-2 win in the Des Sagedahl Wood Bat Classic at the BSU baseball field.
“That was one of our better efforts this year,” BHS head coach Mike Fogelson said. “We went to Grand Rapids (on April 22), and we split a couple close games with them. We played a lot better today.”
The Lumberjacks were largely better in all phases of the game on Friday. Brandon Lussier tossed a solid outing, the defense was sturdy behind him and the offense produced up and down the lineup.
“Lussier was in command in the mound, and I thought our approach at the plate was solid,” Fogelson said. “On the bases, we were really aggressive. They made some mistakes (in the field), and we compounded those by being aggressive. And defensively, we made a lot of plays. Everything was working well today.”
Bemidji (8-6) scored in their final five innings at the plate. In all, every starter had at least one RBI or one run scored.
“We’ve got good hitters up and down the lineup,” senior outfielder Henry Michalicek said. “It’s nice when we’re all on and hitting the ball well. … It really helps get the game going and helps us get a win.”
Colby Carlson kicked things off in the second inning with a towering solo home run over the tall left-field fence. The Jacks then scored four runs in the third inning -- the first two on errors and the last two on RBI hits from Alex LaZella and Steven Peterson -- for a 5-0 edge.
“It felt like hits were coming from everywhere in the lineup,” Fogelson said. “Steven got one in the nine spot. Alex is batting eighth (and) he’s been ripping the ball. One through nine, it felt like everybody was contributing. If we do that, then we’re going to have a real good shot.”
Michalicek added an RBI single in the fourth that made for a 7-0 game. Lussier did his work on the other side, meanwhile, keeping the Thunderhawks (7-9) off the board through five.
Isaiah Biehn and Joe Fletcher scored in the bottom of the fifth for a 9-0 game. Grand Rapids finally got to Lussier with two ultimately harmless runs in the sixth, but Kevin Hogquist entered in relief and shut the door on the 10-2 win.
Lussier picked up the win on the bump, throwing 5 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on five hits. Hogquist did the rest with 1 2/3 scoreless frames of his own.
“(Lussier) was throwing strikes, not walking many batters. Defense was making good plays behind him,” Michalicek said. “… If you can go out and beat a good team like this, (you) hope to keep it going for the next couple games.”
Fogelson added that, with such a deep talent pool gathering in town, it was nice to have a good showing in the Sagedahl Classic opener.
“If you go across the northern part of Minnesota, you’ve got four of the better programs in the state (here),” he said of BHS, Grand Rapids, Moorhead and Duluth East. “It’s super competitive in this tournament, so it’s fun to get off to a good start and see what happens the rest of the way.”
Bemidji played Duluth East in the nightcap on Friday, but final results came after press time.
Saturday's game against Moorhead has been postponed due to rain. An official makeup date has not yet been announced.
Next on the calendar for BHS is a road doubleheader against Detroit Lakes, which starts at 4 p.m. on Monday, May 20.
Bemidji 10, Grand Rapids 2
GR 000 002 0 -- 2-6-0
BHS 014 221 X -- 10-12-4
WP: Lussier (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K)
LP: Allen (2.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)