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Glenn Pursley, Published July 29 2012

Blues force second championship game against Fergus Falls

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – After Moorhead’s loss against Fergus Falls in the semifinals of the Minnesota Division I, District 9 American Legion baseball tournament on Saturday, head coach Jeff Miller was confident in his team’s ability to come back and win.

On Sunday, he didn’t break a sweat.

The Moorhead Blues held Fergus Falls to one earned run as Jared Hendrickson hit a two-run single en route to a 6-2 victory in the first championship game of the district tournament on Sunday.

Since Moorhead is coming out of the loser’s bracket, it is forced to defeat Fergus Falls twice to capture the title.

“They are very resilient kids,” Miller said of his team. “They take a loss and learn from it and move it. That’s what we did (Sunday), it’s great.”

Hendrickson’s RBI single came in the top of the fourth inning and drove in Seth Blaser and Cody Rahman. Blaser reached on a line-drive base hit past third base and Tyson Schoenborn loaded the bases with a single and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch thrown by Fergus Falls pitcher Reece Johnson to put Moorhead up 3-1.

Rahman hit a sacrifice fly in the third inning and scored a run when Hendrickson hustled out a single for his third RBI of the game in the eighth inning. Hendrickson finished with two hits.

“It’s a great feeling when you can get some RBIs,” Hendrickson said. “It gives us a great chance to come back and play another great game. Just getting up to the plate with all that pressure, I love it. That’s why I’m playing this game.”

Aaron Wilmer came out of center field to pitch in the ninth inning for Moorhead and gave up one hit and two walks to load the bases. He struck out Jake Anderson and gave up a deep fly ball to center that was chased down by Alex Wilmer for the third out to seal the deal and force a second championship game.

“I didn’t have a worry in the world when that fly ball went out there,” Miller said. “I knew he would track it down and get to it. That’s what makes them good center fielders.”

Aaron Wilmer made a spectacular diving catch in center field for the final out of the third inning to prevent two runs from scoring. Fergus Falls’ Zach Rengel tried to score on a sacrifice fly hit to right fielder Chris Beach and was thrown out at home for the double play.

“Aaron Wilmer has been doing that all year for us,” Miller said. “He works so hard and makes plays. The whole team showed up today and it was a team effort. Everybody worked hard today to get here and now we are playing (today).”

Moorhead cruised to the championship game with a 11-0 victory against Perham after seven innings earlier on Sunday. Blaser batted 4-for-5 with two RBIs during the game and starting pitcher Schoenborn struck out six to take the win.

Moorhead will face Fergus Falls tomorrow in the Division 1, District 9 championship game at 6:00 p.m. in Detroit Lakes. Fergus Falls has won the district tournament three years in a row.

M 241 021 1–11 15 0

P 000 000 0–0 4 4

Schoenborn and Quaife. Biegler, Brauch (6) and Pankonin. W–Schoenborn L–Biegler).

M 000 310 02x–6 11 1

FF 100 000 100–2 9 2

Danielson, Weismann (7), Wilmer (9) and Quaife. Johnson, Rasmussen (6) and Heinen. W–Danielson. L–Johnson. HR-FF, Gaustad (1).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 451-5549