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Cardinals split doubleheader with Bemidji (w/video)

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Toby Helgeson fields a ground ball in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against Bemidji in Alexandria. Helgeson went 3-for-4 in the game and scored a run. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)2 / 2

A ninth inning fielder’s choice off the bat of Cody McLaughlin allowed Grant Toivonen to cross home plate and gave the Alexandria baseball team a victory in a doubleheader with Bemidji on Friday at Knute Nelson Ballpark.

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The Lumberjacks won the first game between the two teams 4-2 earlier in the afternoon before the Cardinals scored the walk off 4-3 victory to split the doubleheader. After the game Alexandria head coach Russ Hinrichs was quick to point out that Bemidji has a strong baseball team and expects to see more of in the section tournament.

“Bemidji’s a very good team, and I fully expect they’ll be there at the end,” Hinrichs said. “I think it was two good teams. I was really proud of our pitchers; I thought our pitchers did a fantastic job.”

Coming into Friday’s doubleheader, Bemidji had scored an average of six runs a game, but the Alexandria starting pitchers did a good job not allowing any big innings. Jake Booth started the first game, picking up the loss despite only allowing two earned runs in six innings.

“I think I pitched pretty well,” Booth said. “I stayed in the strike zone and gave the team a chance to win.”

Bemidji’s Ryan Hirt held the Cardinals’ offense in check for most of the game, picking up 11 strikeouts in the process.

Zach Peterson doubled home Toby Helgeson for the Cardinals’ first run of the game in the sixth inning, and he later scored the second run on a McLaughlin groundout.

Alexandria picked up a pair of two-out singles in the seventh inning but was unable to score the game-tying run.

Dan Kuhn started the second game Friday and pitched 5 and 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs with a strikeout. With the game being his first as a starting pitcher this season, Kuhn’s main focus was throwing strikes and getting the Lumberjacks to put the ball in play.

“It went well,” Kuhn said. “It was my first time on the mound starting this year so I just tried to get the ball in there, make them put it in play and let the defense make a play.”

Mitch Thompson picked up the win in relief of Kuhn, tossing 3 and 2/3 scoreless innings.

Helgeson went 3-for-4 in the game, including a fifth inning double that drove in an RBI.

Parker Revering also had a strong game with the bat, going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a key seventh inning home run that tied the game at 3-3.

He said the Bemidji pitcher left a fastball up in the zone, which allowed him to make solid contact and push the game to extra innings.

“I didn’t even know it was gone until I got to about third base, but I knew I made good contact,” Revering said. “I was running hard.”

The win pushed the Cardinals’ record to 4-1 this season.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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