BASEBALL: Bemidji finishes undefeated home season with win on Senior Day
On Monday, Mike Fogelson broke Des Sagedahl’s record for wins as a BHS head coach. On Tuesday, he and Bemidji finished off an undefeated home campaign for the first time in Fogelson’s 18 seasons.
BEMIDJI – Mike Fogelson has coached the Bemidji High School baseball team for 18 years.
In the past two days, he’s experienced quite the pair of milestones.
On Monday, Fogelson broke Des Sagedahl’s record for wins as a BHS head coach. And on Tuesday, he and the Lumberjacks finished off an undefeated home campaign for the first time in Fogelson’s 18 seasons in charge.
Bemidji kept its focus through a 45-minute lightning delay, sealing a 5-3 win over Section 8-4A opponent St. Cloud on Senior Day to christen the celebratory occasion.
“We always pride ourselves in playing well at home,” Fogelson said. “And in the 18 years I've been coaching, this is our first undefeated regular season at home. The boys did something special at home this year winning every game. Even in 2012 when we played in the state championship, I know we lost at home. I remember the day.”
Starting all eight seniors in their final regular-season home game, the Jacks (14-4) jumped on St. Cloud (10-6) early with a four-run second inning. Down 1-0 entering the bottom of the frame, Ty Lundeen led off with a double off the high wall in left field, then Ethan Biehn reached on an error. With one out, Dan Clusiau singled in courtesy runner Landon Hanson, then Ryan Loewe’s double to left-center scored Biehn and Clusiau. Peyton Neadeau completed the scoring with an opposite-field RBI single to left.
“That's a big win that we want, because they just beat Moorhead,” Loewe said of St. Cloud. “And so that really helps with us beating them (heading) into the (section) seedings this Friday.”
In the fourth inning, the game was delayed for 45 minutes due to repeated lightning strikes in the area. When Bemidji returned to the field, its momentum began to stall out.
A hit-by-pitch and passed ball gave the Crush a runner on second, then with two outs, a dropped infield pop fly brought St. Cloud within 4-2.
The Crush added another run in the fifth to make it a tight one-run affair. But Bemidji responded with its own run in the bottom of the frame, as Ben Corradi singled home the Jacks’ fifth and final score.
“We didn't communicate very well on that first pop-up that (we) dropped,” said Loewe, the Jacks’ catcher. “That was an all-around just non-communication. That was a mental error on all of our parts. But I think after that we kind of realized, ‘We’ve got to get it together. Otherwise we're not going to win this game.’”
BHS regained its composure, and the reward was an undefeated home record.
“Weird weather day, Senior Day, coming off a huge emotional win yesterday – just a lot of things,” Fogelson said. “And fun to see us figure it out. I think adversity is what we need because it tests us the right ways to get us ready for more adversity. Because that's what's coming. Playoffs are going to be adverse, they're going to be tough. And so every time we step up (for) one of those challenges, it's making us better for where we need to be next week.”
Senior Day marked a full-circle moment for Loewe, who became a big contributor to the Lumberjacks just this year. He’s played with the other seven seniors for nearly a decade on various teams, including the Bemidji American Legion Centaurs last summer. But this season has been his first in the limelight with the Jacks, and he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity.
“Ryan started the year competing for the catcher's job with eight other guys,” Fogelson said. “He worked really hard, and he has solidified us to serve as our guy. He's done a great job behind the plate handling all our pitchers, but he's also had some key hits for us and big RBIs, and he's backing it up. He's doing a great job. He's our backstop right now, and he's fitting in really well.”
“With us having eight seniors and seven of them returning from last year, it's a really big (goal) that we want to make it deep into sections and even the state tournament,” Loewe said. “So that's keeping us going and working hard to live up to what I guess you would say we should be doing.”
Loewe shepherded fellow senior Ty Lundeen through a complete game on the mound, in which Lundeen allowed just three unearned runs on two hits with six strikeouts.
Bemidji returns to the diamond for its final regular-season contests, a doubleheader against Andover and Brainerd starting at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, in Brainerd.
Bemidji 5, St. Cloud 3
STC 010 110 0 – 3-2-1
BHS 040 010 X – 5-11-3
WP: Lundeen (CG, 7 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)
LP: Lieser (CG, 6 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)