A one-out single by Rogers leadoff hitter Noah Gordon plated the winning run for the #2 Royals in the bottom of the seventh inning to end #4 Bemidji baseball’s season in a back-and-forth 9-8 loss on Tuesday in a Section 8AAAA elimination game at Cold Spring Baseball Park.
Bemidji had built a 5-0 lead entering the bottom of the fourth inning, then came back from a 6-5 deficit to lead 8-6 entering the bottom of the sixth before the Royals scored twice in the frame and the final game-ending run one inning later.
The teams started in similar low-scoring fashion to the 2-0 Rogers win that played out on May 20 with a pair of scoreless frames to open the game. Starting for a second consecutive game, the Lumberjacks’ Dan Clusiau was able to erase a runner during a quick second inning by catching him attempting to steal second.
The top of the third brought the first two runs of the game–the first two scored by the Lumberjacks against Rogers this season. A walk and bunt single by the Jacks led to a Rogers pitching change to insert Gordon for some early relief action. But a high throw home on Hunter Brodina’s bounding infield grounder allowed Parker Mistic to score the game’s first run.
An error again produced a run for Bemidji thanks to a ball that popped out of Gordon’s glove as he attempted to cover first base on another infield ground ball.
The situation got even better for Bemidji in the fourth inning thanks to consecutive RBI singles from Brodina and Cam Justice and an RBI double by Ty Lundeen to vault the Lumberjacks into a 5-0 lead.
Rogers cleanup hitter Reiken Downs gave the second-seed Royals life in the bottom of the fourth by blasting a solo home run off Clusiau to left field.
Momentum from the one-run fourth inning carried over to the fifth in a major way for Rogers when five runs came across to score against Clusiau and relief pitchers Brodina and Lundeen. Joey Koch followed up earlier RBI singles by knocking in two runs with a two-out hit that vaulted the Royals from trailing 5-4 into a 6-5 lead.
Bemidji answered back with three two-out runs scored in the top of the sixth, starting with a two-run double deep to left field by Lundeen and ending on a Will Zellman RBI single.
Trailing by two, the Royals struck twice for a pair of unearned runs with two out in the sixth inning. A long, low throw to first on an infield bounder plated one run and set up a sharp RBI single by Nathan Garding to tie the game at eight.
Biehn reached base with two outs in the seventh thanks to his third hit of the game, but was left stranded at second base.
A one-out single and hit batter gave Rogers two runners aboard against Lundeen with Gordon stepping to the plate. The junior drilled a deep single past Zellman to left field that comfortably scored the Royals their winning run.
Rogers advances to square off against the winner of this afternoon’s elimination game between #3 Elk River and #5 Moorhead in another elimination game in Cold Spring tonight.
Bemidji’s season concludes with a record of 13-9 and the graduation of four seniors: Parker Mistic, John Cleven, Caden Bolte, and Isaac Frenzel.