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BASEBALL: Ty Lundeen walks off Jacks with 8th-inning homer to clinch split

Ty Lundeen had never hit a walk-off home run before. Not just at the high school level – at any level. But with two outs and no runners on base in the bottom of the eighth inning on Thursday, he got his chance.

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE2 Ty Lu.jpg
Bemidji junior Ty Lundeen (7) bats against Grand Rapids on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Ty Lundeen had never hit a walk-off home run before.

Not just at the high school level – at any level. But with two outs and no runners on base in the bottom of the eighth inning on Thursday, he got his chance.

Lundeen stepped up to the plate and launched a line drive to left field, sending the ball over the wall and giving the Bemidji High School baseball team a 4-3 win over Grand Rapids at the BSU baseball field.

The Lumberjacks later fell 5-2 in the second half of a home doubleheader.

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Bemidji junior Ben Corradi cheers from the dugout in the fifth inning during game one of a doubleheader against Grand Rapids on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Lundeen blacked out his trip around the bases – so what’s the first thing he did remember?

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“Getting mobbed by everyone,” Lundeen said.

As unlikely as the walk-off was, some unique circumstances made it all the more exceptional. The doubleheader was originally scheduled to be played at Grand Rapids, but rainstorms in the area made playing there impossible.

Thus, the game was moved to Bemidji during the school day – and Lundeen took full advantage of the last at-bat that comes with playing at home.

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE2 Caden Bolte.jpg
The Lumberjacks celebrate after senior Caden Bolte (9) scored in the fifth inning against Grand Rapids on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“To be honest, it was really confusing,” Lundeen said. “I had no idea what we were doing. But yeah, it was nice to play at home. And it turned out to be a nice night, I guess.”

Both games were marked by pitchers’ duels in the early innings. Dan Clusiau fired five scoreless innings for the Jacks in game one, allowing just one hit and striking out 12 batters. Grand Rapids’ Myles Gunderson matched him with seven innings of work and just three runs allowed – none of which were earned.

But BHS (9-4) scratched across two runs in the bottom of the fifth with an innovative offensive approach. After Cam Justice singled to lead off the inning, Will Zellmann bunted and reached on an error by Gunderson, with pinch-runner Caden Bolte advancing to second on the play. John Cleven successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over.

Peyton Neadeau then bunted and reached on another error by Gunderson, while Bolte scored on the play. Finally, Parker Mistic scored Zellmann on another sacrifice and error by Gunderson, giving the Jacks a 2-0 lead.

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE2 Will Zellmann.jpg
The Lumberjacks congratulate Bemidji junior Will Zellmann (left) after scoring in the fifth inning against Grand Rapids on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji’s edge wouldn’t hold for long, as the Thunderhawks (7-4) stormed back with three runs in the top of the sixth. But Ethan Biehn scored on a sacrifice fly by Justice in the bottom of that frame, setting the stage for Lundeen’s heroics.

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“Sometimes, you got to play a little small ball,” BHS head coach Mike Fogelson said. “I mean, maybe we got to play even a little bit more of it sometimes. But it was nice to do that and to get those runs. Their pitcher was doing a great job. One of the better pitcher duels we've seen this year.”

The script remained the same in the second game. Both teams got off to slow starts offensively, with neither team recording a hit through three innings. Grand Rapids broke the seal with two runs in the fourth, then added three in the fifth for a 5-0 lead.

The Lumberjacks responded with a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Mistic. They added on with a run in the seventh and loaded the bases to make it interesting, but Justice grounded out to first to end the game.

051422.S.BP.BHSBASE2 Ethan Biehn.jpg
Bemidji junior Ethan Biehn celebrates after making it to first base in the second inning against Grand Rapids on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at the BSU baseball field.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji would have loved to sweep the double dip, but it was content with a split against a solid team – especially given the unpredictability of the day’s events.

“They're very competitive. We're very competitive. I mean, it's a lot of fun,” Fogelson said. “Obviously, we'd love to get them both, but that's a good ballclub over there.”

The Jacks return to the diamond for a game against Sartell-St. Stephen at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13, back at the BSU baseball field.

Bemidji 4, Grand Rapids 3

GRP 000 003 00 – 3-3-5

BHS 000 021 01 – 4-2-1

WP: Brodina (3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

LP: Sjostrand (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)

Grand Rapids 5, Bemidji 2

GRP 000 230 0 – 5-8-0

BHS 000 010 1 – 2-2-1

WP: Sjostrand (4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K)

LP: Neadeau (5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

S: Drotts

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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