For what felt like forever, the final fly ball of the 1973 baseball season hung high in the air.
“It was a pop-up towards left field,” recalled John Buckanaga, the catcher on that Bemidji High School baseball team. “It seemed like it was up in the air for 10 minutes. It was a real high pop-up. It was dark. And it just hung up there.”
When the ball finally fell, senior Dave Drown was waiting for it. The ball met the leather, secure in the webbing of the mitt, and the Lumberjacks had a 3-1 win over Winona in the 1973 State Championship Game.
BHS steamrolled into the single-class state tournament behind dominant showings in the region and district tournaments. Naturally, they faced their toughest competition at state, but old Midway Stadium in St. Paul witnessed an unprecedented and still unmatched accomplishment by Bemidji’s boys of summer.
This is the final installment in a series titled Lumberjack Flashback, highlighting some of the greatest spring sports teams, athletes and moments in Bemidji High School history.