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BASEBALL: Bemidji scores in waves, washing out Duluth East in strong sweep

Bemidji built up a 7-0 lead in game one with a four-run first inning and a three-run second. Then in game two, the Jacks put up five in the fifth inning to separate from what had been a one-run game.

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE Ben Corradi.jpg
Bemidji junior Ben Corradi (34) fist-bumps head coach Mike Fogelson after Corradi hit a home run during game one of a doubleheader against Duluth East on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI — Crooked numbers can straighten out an offense in a hurry.

Those kinds of innings did wonders for the Bemidji High School baseball team on Tuesday, as the Lumberjacks hung big numbers on the scoreboard in a 9-7 and 8-5 sweep over Duluth East at the BSU baseball field.

“We have nine guys that hit the ball really well and have good at-bats, so those big innings can start anywhere in our lineup,” BHS head coach Mike Fogelson said. “The key is getting that first guy on and having a lot of good at-bats.”

Bemidji built up a 7-0 lead in game one with a four-run first inning and a three-run second. Then in game two, the Jacks put up five in the fifth inning to separate from what had been a one-run game.

The run support proved to be necessary, because the Greyhounds scored four runs in the seventh inning of both games. But the big cushions were enough for BHS to pull off the sweep.

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051422.S.BP.BHSBASE Ty Lundeen.jpg
Bemidji junior Ty Lundeen readies for a pitch before hitting a home run during game one of a doubleheader against Duluth East on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“If you get a big inning, you know you’re on your way to having a great chance to win,” Fogelson said. “A big inning, especially with a two-out RBI mixed in, those are killer. We had three of them today, and that’s good stuff.”

In the opening game, Cam Justice’s RBI double highlighted Bemidji’s four-run first inning, and then Hunter Brodina took home on a double steal in the second inning as part of the 7-0 advantage.

The Lumberjacks (8-3) left the bases loaded in the third, but Ty Lundeen homered in the fourth for an 8-0 lead.

The Greyhounds (3-5) stormed back in the final two innings, plating three runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh. Charlie Sutherland, a Minnesota Gophers commit, cranked a three-run shot -- his second in as many innings -- that brought Duluth East within 9-7.

But Brodina entered for a one-out save, inducing a groundout and preserving the win while keeping the tying run in the on-deck circle.

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE Hunter Brodina.jpg
Bemidji junior Hunter Brodina throws a pitch during game one of a doubleheader against Duluth East on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“It’s a good test for us because obviously when we get to the playoffs, that’s going to happen,” Brodina said of the close game. “There will be games where they get ahead, and we’ll have to battle back and score some runs.”

BHS found itself in such a predicament in game two, as the Greyhounds opened up a 1-0 edge in the first.

Parker Mistic tied the game in the third frame on a safety squeeze bunt that scored Peyton Neadeau. Two batters later, Ben Corradi singled in Brodina for a 2-1 Bemidji edge.

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That score held until the fifth, when five runs came across for the Jacks and blew open a sudden 7-1 lead.

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE Caden Bolte.jpg
Bemidji senior Caden Bolte touches the plate to score in the second inning during game one of a doubleheader against Duluth East on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“I think it’s the energy on our bench that really gets us going,” Brodina said. “Everybody was hitting the ball and putting the ball in play. When you put the ball in play, good things happen.”

Brodina belted the opening statement with a two-run homer. Justice later added an RBI single, and Will Zellmann plated two more with a single of his own.

Duluth East again made it interesting in the final inning, scoring four runs and pushing for more, but a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play ended the threat and clinched the BHS win.

“There was nothing wrong with us winning a couple close games at the end. Because it’s good for us to work through some of that,” Fogelson said. “That little pressure helps us play better. I think you learn from those things, too. All positives from us today.”

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE Ethan Biehn.jpg
Bemidji junior Ethan Biehn throws the ball to first base for an out during game one of a doubleheader against Duluth East on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Brodina finished game two 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and three runs scored. Corradi, Zellmann and Neadeau all went 2-for-3 in game one, which included a solo homer from Corradi.

Bemidji is back in action at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 12, for a road doubleheader in Grand Rapids.

Bemidji 9, Duluth East 7

DE 000 003 4 -- 7-9-3

BHS 430 101 X -- 9-8-1

WP: Lundeen (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K)

LP: Vos (4 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)

S: Brodina

-

Bemidji 8, Duluth East 5

DE 100 000 4 -- 5-12-1

BHS 002 051 X -- 8-10-0

WP: Biehn (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

LP: Sazama (5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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