BHS softball begins section tournament
BEMIDJI - A few weeks ago the Bemidji softball team was swept in a doubleheader at West Fargo by identical 11-1 scores.
On that day, the Lumberjacks committed 11 errors and didn't play like a team that could challenge for a top-four section seed.
How the players would react following that debacle in North Dakota would dictate how the rest of the season would go.
"We need to find a way to forget what happened here," BHS coach Brad Takkunen said after the games at West Fargo. "The kids haven't forgotten how to play the game. It was just one of those days."
The next day Bemidji hosted Brainerd, which is considered to be the class of the section and one of the premiere teams in Minnesota.
The Jacks eventually lost to the Warriors 3-1 but Bemidji's effort was outstanding. And since that setback BHS has never looked back.
"That was a very good game for us," Takkunen said. "We got pounded at West Fargo but against Brainerd we had an unbelievable bounce back."
Since that day, Bemidji has won six consecutive games and the 14-6 Lumberjacks will open Section 8-3A play at home today as the No. 2 seed. At 4 p.m. No. 7 Rocori will face No. 10 Moorhead and that winner will battle Bemidji at 6 p.m.
The section quarterfinals will be Memorial Day at the remaining highest seed (most likely Brainerd) and the championship game will be May 30.
"After those mid-season losses, the kids started to believe that they could make the plays," Takkunen said of the improved play which led to the No. 2 seed.
"It hasn't been easy for us. There is talent on this team and there always has been.
"The reason for the improvement is that when we make a mistake we don't compound it by making three or four more," the coach continued. "We're human and everybody will make a mistake. But you can't compound one mistake with another. You need to pick each other up and that's what we're doing now."
The players are having fun on the field and that approach to the game has helped lead to the improved play.
"We're a different team than the one that played at West Fargo," Takkunen said. "We're stronger and we believe in ourselves.
"The season isn't a sprint and you keep plugging along," the coach continued. "You find a way to keep going."