VIDEO: Strange Ending In Eden Prairie vs Bemidji Baseball State Semifinal
Click the video box on this page to see the controversial at-bat in the Class AAA Baseball Semifinal between Bemidji and Eden Prairie.
You don't often get to storm the field and celebrate twice in a single game, but the Bemidji Lumberjacks did.
A strange turn of events in Bemidji's Class AAA State Baseball Semifinal game against Eden Prairie ultimately ended with the Lumberjacks advancing to their first state title appearance since 1986 with an 8-6 extra-inning win.
After building a 6-0 lead after an inning and a half, Bemidji saw Eden Prairie stage a furious comeback.
The Eagles managed to draw within one run at 6-5, and were down to their final out.
With the game on the line, Bemidji pitcher Mitch Hendricks and Eden Prairie batter Danny Halloran were locked in a tension-filled at-bat.
With the count full, Hendricks' pitch passed the plate low and away from right-handed hitting Halloran. Halloran checked his swing as the ball bounced in the dirt. Bemidji catcher Collin Leif scooped the pitch out of the dirt and tagged Halloran just as the home plate umpire appeared to call Halloran out.
Bemidji players tossed their gloves in the air and stormed the field to celebrate their victory.
...Or so they thought.
During the celebration, Eden Prairie coach Mike Halloran motioned to first base, seeming to indicate a desire for the called strike to be appealed to the first-base umpire.
The umpires conferred and after a lengthy discussion, the call was reversed.
Halloran was awarded first base on a walk, leaving Bemidji players visibly and audibly upset.
With the bases loaded, Brett Guba - the next batter for Eden Prairie - earned a 5-pitch walk. That brought Michael Blauert in from third base, tying the game at 6.
Bemidji avoided what would have been an unthinkable collapse by forcing Halloran at second on the batter later to end the inning, sending the game to extra innings.
In the eighth, Bemidji scored a pair of unearned runs on two Eden Prairie errors to regain the lead at 8-6.
After Miles Nablo singled to open the bottom of the eighth, Hendricks retired three straight Eagles hitters to end the game.
After their false celebration after the seventh inning, Bemidji was able to officially celebrate after the eighth - although it was much more subdued than their initial, spontaneous jubilation an inning earlier.
Bemidji will play in Eastview or Grand Rapids on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Class AAA State Championship game at Target Field.