Jess Yost provided a perfect ending to Bemidji's softball regular season Saturday as the freshman pitcher tossed a perfect game at Grand Forks Central.
Behind Yost's performance the Lumberjacks blistered Central 15-0 in five innings in the first game of a doubleheader. BHS completed the sweep by rallying for a 6-5 win in the nightcap.
"There wasn't much excitement to the perfect game," said BHS coach Brad Takkunen. "We played good defense and Jess kept throwing strikes. Central didn't have anything close to being a hit."
But the home team did have Yost on the ropes in the bottom of the fifth when she missed on the first three pitches to the leadoff hitter.
"But Jess came back to strike her out," Takkunen said.
Yost also faced a 3-2 count to the second hitter in the fifth. Once again, however, she found a way to throw a strike and preserve the perfect game.
"She knew she was working on a perfect game and she might have been nervous in the final inning," Takkunen said. "But she came through with strikes when she needed them."
By the time Central came to the plate in the fifth the outcome had been decided.
Bemidji scored four in the first inning, added solo runs in the second and third, and settled the issue with three in the fourth and six in the fifth.
A pair of runs scored on errors in the opening stanza and the third was courtesy of Chelsea Johnson's single.
Janelle Williams singled in Jineane Williams in the second and an error and two wild pitches combined for the third-inning tally.
In the fourth Yost reached on an error, Janelle Williams singled, Chelsea Johnson singled home a pair and a wild pitch scored the other.
The fifth inning featured five straight hits, including Janelle Williams' fourth hit.
In Saturday's rematch Bemidji had to rally with three runs in the top of the seventh. Trailing 5-3 heading into the stanza, Taylor McLean began the comeback with a double and Janie Johnson followed with a bunt single. Janelle Williams tripled home two runs and also scored when the throw to the infield was misplayed.
McLean went the distance on the Bemidji mound and allowed six hits while fanning six and walking three.
Saturday's sweep gave the Jacks a 15-4 regular season record. They also received the third seed in the 8AAA playoffs and will open the tournament 6 p.m. Wednesday at home.
Earlier that day in Bemidji two teams will stage a play-in game and that winner will tangle with the Lumberjacks. The two teams have yet to be determined.
Brainerd received the top seed and Big Lake was ranked second. Earning the fourth seed was Alexandria.
Bemidji 411 36 - 15 14 0
G.F.Central 000 00 - 0 0 7
Yost (W) and Clark. K-9, BB-0
Erickson (L) and Black. K-2, BB-0
Bemidji 100 101 3 - 6 8 2
G.F.Central 131 000 0 - 5 6 3
McLean (W) and Pence. K-4, BB-1
Johnson (L) and Erickson. K-6, BB-3