BEMIDJI -- Isaiah Biehn had Alexandria down to its final two outs Tuesday when he realized the gravity of the situation: he was pitching a perfect game.
The Bemidji High School senior sealed the deal and retired the side for the fifth consecutive inning without allowing a baserunner. Biehn capped a doubleheader sweep with his perfect game in a 10-0, five-inning victory at the BSU baseball field. The milestone moment came after a 5-2 win in game one.
“It felt really good, especially since it was against Alex, one of our big rivals,” Biehn said. “I was going through the game not even really thinking about it was going to be a perfect game. I was just kind of going through the motions.”
Biehn struck out six and didn’t issue a single walk.
“I usually have a couple walks, but my arm was really good,” Biehn said. “It felt good all around. The defense was playing good in backing me up too.”
Catcher Parker Mistic was behind the plate for Biehn’s perfecto.
“He really deserves a lot of the credit too,” Biehn said. “He blocks a lot of balls. When I strike kids out with a curveball in the dirt, he still stops it, throws the ball to first and gets them out. He was a big part of my perfect game.”
Pitchers have tossed no-hitters during Mike Fogelson’s 17 seasons as head coach, but never had he witnessed a Lumberjack pitch a perfect game.
“We’ve had a couple no-hitters,” he said, “but I’ve never been part of a perfect game. Nobody in the dugout was saying anything and I could see on the scoreboard there was a no-hitter, but I couldn’t remember if anybody had gotten on base. I wanted to keep asking, ‘Is this a perfect game or what?’ After the game it was pretty cool.”
Biehn has been nearly unhittable through his first four starts. At 4-0, he’s allowed only one unearned run and five hits over 21 innings, resulting in an unblemished ERA of 0.00 while racking up 27 strikeouts.
“He’s off to an amazing start,” Fogelson said. “He’s just pitching so well, and obviously so are the other guys. Our whole pitching staff has just been superb. I couldn’t ask for a better start to the year on the mound with all the guys who have thrown.”
The sweep keeps Bemidji at a perfect 10-0 on the season.
In game one, the BHS tallied two runs in each of the first two innings.
Starting pitcher Aaron Heger’s sac fly and Ben Corradi’s RBI double made it 2-0 after the opening frame. The Jacks scored two more an inning later on Isaiah Biehn’s sac fly before Ethan Biehn came home on an error.
Heger tripled in the fifth and scored on an RBI single by Corradi, who finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs, to extend the lead to 5-1.
The Cardinals (5-6) loaded the bases with one out in the seventh and brought the winning run to the plate. Heger was pulled due to pitch count limitations. Brandon Lussier entered and fanned the final two batters to earn the save.
“We’re going to give (Lussier) some more innings coming up here,” Fogelson said. “He came in and threw really well. He’s as good as anybody we’ve got.”
While Isaiah Biehn worked from the mound in the nightcap, the Lumberjacks took advantage of a couple big innings to pave the way for the 10-run rule win. Bemidji plated five runs in each of the second and third innings to spot Biehn a large lead early.
Ethan Biehn’s single drove in the first run before Isaiah Biehn helped his cause with a two-run double one at-bat later. A balk and a wild pitch scored the Biehn brothers.
More errors cost Alexandria in the third as the Cardinals conceded five more runs. Heger and Corradi each recorded RBI singles.
Second baseman Ethan Biehn caught a pop fly for the final out in the fifth inning to deliver his brother the perfect game and Bemidji to a 10-0 start.
“We put in so much work in the offseason with losing a year of baseball,” Isaiah Biehn said. “We just kept working, working and working. It’s really showing off with our bats, our defense and our pitching. It’s just all coming together.”
BHS will have the rest of the week off before beginning a five-game slate next week with a home doubleheader against Grand Rapids. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. on Monday, May 10.
Game 1: Bemidji 5, Alexandria 2
ALX 001 000 1 -- 2-8-1
BHS 220 010 X -- 5-11-0
WP: Heger (6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 5 K, 2 BB)
LP: Endres (5 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 3 K, 0 BB)
S: Lussier (2)
Game 2: Bemidji 10, Alexandria 0 (five innings)
ALX 000 00 -- 0-0-6
BHS 055 0X -- 10-10-0
WP: I. Biehn (CG, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 6 K, 0 BB)
LP: Swerman (2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 K, 2 BB)