BASEBALL: Peterson, Jacks shut out Lakers to stay alive in section playoffs
BEMIDJI -- Steven Peterson pitched a gem in a Section 8-3A Tournament elimination game for the Bemidji High School baseball team Thursday, extending the Lumberjacks’ season by at least one more game. The junior pitched a complete-game, three-hitter in a 5-0 shutout over Detroit Lakes at the BSU baseball field.
“My arm was feeling good today, and my defense was making plays behind me,” Peterson said. “That gives you a lot of confidence as a pitcher.”
Peterson pitched seven scoreless innings and fanned four batters while surrendering only three hits and two walks. He kept Lakers hitters puzzled, inducing 12 ground balls.
“They were definitely chasing the cutter today,” Peterson said. “But they were swinging early on in the count, too, so if I’d give them a fastball they’d just roll a grounder and my defense would take care of the rest.”
“He commanded the strike zone,” BHS head coach Mike Fogelson added. “He kept them off balance all day. … All your momentum starts on the mound and he gave us a great start to the day. From there on, I thought we played really good defense. We were running the bases more aggressively than we were yesterday and we scratched across enough runs to get it done.”
While Bemidji’s defense was holding up just fine, the same couldn’t be said for fourth-seeded Detroit Lakes (6-13), at least in the early going. Four errors over the first two innings led directly to two runs for the second-seeded Lumberjacks (12-7).
Isaiah Biehn led off the first inning with a bloop single and eventually came around to score the game’s first run on an error by the catcher. One inning later, Colby Carlson reached on a botched play at short and later scored on another error by the shortstop to make it 2-0.
The Lakers shored up their defense the rest of the way, but then Bemidji’s bats began to pop.
Henry Michalicek doubled to lead off the fourth. Two batters later, Peterson helped his own cause on the mound by recording the first RBI of the game on a hard single up the middle.
The Jacks added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth thanks to consecutive RBI singles from Casey McNamara and Hunter Olson, extending the lead to 5-0. Peterson retired the side 1-2-3 in the seventh to eliminate Detroit Lakes and advance in the section tournament.
“I thought we had better at-bats than yesterday,” Fogelson said. “Obviously, we know we can score more than we did today. But again, it’s the playoffs and just getting the W is all that matters right now.”
The Lumberjacks answered the call in their first game following a 2-1 loss to Little Falls in the opening round Wednesday. Bemidji faces a long road to a potential section title, needing four more wins to advance to state, but the team is ready for the challenge.
“It’s just extra motivation knowing that you win or go home,” Peterson said. “(My teammates) were all battling to stay alive.”
Up next for Bemidji is an elimination game against fifth-seeded Fergus Falls set for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4, at St. John’s University. The Otters (6-15) and Jacks did not meet in the regular season.
“Both teams are fighting to keep their season alive,” Fogelson said. “We know what we need to do to be competitive in that game. Hopefully we can go out and play our best baseball, and I think we’ll be fine.”
“We’re confident in our team right now,” Peterson said. “And none of us want to be done.”
Bemidji 5, Detroit Lakes 0
DL 000 000 0 -- 0-3-4
BHS 110 102 X -- 5-8-1
WP: Peterson (CG, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 K, 2 BB).
LP: Wood (6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 K, 3 BB).