By Nick Gerhardt, Scoremonster contributor
Bemidji 2, Union Hill 0 FINAL pic.twitter.com/pQhFcwc0OB— MN Baseball Assn (@MinnBaseball) September 3, 2017
Bemidji gave starter TJ Erickson an early lead and he made sure it stood up Sunday in a 2-0 victory over Union Hill in Norwood.
Matt Baier doubled to left field in the top of the third inning and scored on a ground out by Mitch Hendricks for the Blue Ox, who finished with six hits in the game. Bemidji, who beat Sartell 2-1 Saturday, added a run in the top of the eighth when Connor McNallan doubled with one out. He scored on an error to make it 2-0.
Erickson worked out of jams throughout but most came with two outs. The Bulldogs, who defeated Carver 7-6 Saturday, stranded 13 runners. Those stranded runners included seven in scoring position.
Erickson’s biggest jam came in the bottom of the eighth when Union Hill loaded the bases with two outs. The Bulldogs loaded the bases after Will Busch drew a walk but Erickson got Matt Beckius to fly to right to end the inning.
Erickson, a Roseau draftee, mixed in his offspeed pitches effectively to allow just five hits. He walked three and struck out three in eight innings. Brenden Gilles closed the game out and got a ground ball to third to end the game after allowing a walk and a single.
McNallan finished 1-for-3 with a run for the Blue Ox, who move on to face the winner of Kimball and Green Isle Sunday at 5 p.m. in Hamburg. Zach Brown had a hit and Hendricks went 1-for-3 with an RBI for the Bemidji, which finished with six hits.
Eric Bisek went 1-for-4 for Union Hill while Matt Beckius finished 1-for-4 and Danny Beckius went 1-for-4. Jesse Bastyr also went 1-for-2.
Derek Masberg started for the Bulldogs and went all nine innings. He allowed two runs on six hits, struck out three and walked none.
New Prague strikes at the right moment to advance to Final Four
New Prague 4, Jordan 0 FINAL pic.twitter.com/uLLDNyghbB— MN Baseball Assn (@MinnBaseball) September 3, 2017
When the moment came New Prague struck Sunday in a 4-0 victory over Jordan on Norwood to reach the Final Four.
The Orioles scored all four runs courtesy of Brewers’ errors and got solid pitching from Joel Zimmermann and Veseli draftee Matt Perkinson.
New Prague took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first without getting a hit. James Fuerniss ground out to bring in Justin Novak, who reached on an error. Another error and a sacrifice bunt put Novak in scoring position.
The Orioles added a run in the fourth when Fuerniss drew a lead-off walk. An error allowed him to score to make it 2-0.
Jordan booted the ball around later in the sixth, which led to two more runs for New Prague. The Brewers made four errors in the game. Aaron Kes singled with the bases loaded to score two runs with two outs in the inning. A fielder’s choice put Eric Wagner on base while Taylor Lambrecht reached on an error and Novak walked to load the bases. Kes overran first base and got thrown out to end the inning, but not before two runs scored, though Jordan didn’t agree with the call that the second run scored in time.
Zimmermann and Perkinson kept the Brewers in check the rest of the way. Zimmermann went 5 ⅔ innings and allowed four hits. He walked two and struck out none. Perkinson pitched the final 3 1/3 and allowed no runs on three hits. He walked no batters and struck out two.
Jordan has its chances but stranded 13 runners. The Brewers loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with one out but couldn’t get a run across.
Nate Beckman started for Jordan and went four innings. He allowed two unearned runs on four hits, walked two and struck out one.
Kes led New Prague with a 2-for-4 day and two RBI. Fuerniss went 0-for-3 with an RBI and a run. Eric Wagner finished 2-for-4 with a run for the Orioles, who had six hits in the game.
New Prague faces Lake Henry at 7:30 p.m. in Hamburg.
Adam Kalal, Steve Beckman, Scott Hollingsworth, Greg Quast, Jonathan Draheim and Alex Beckman had base hits for the Brewers.