The fine Bemidji High softball season came to a sudden end Monday as the Lumberjacks fell to Elk River 8-4 and St. Cloud Apollo 4-3 in the section finals at Sauk Rapids.
Elk River beat the Eagles 9-1 in the opening game of the day and will face them again Thursday in the championship game with Apollo needing two wins to take the title.
It was a disappointing day for Bemidji which went into the day with high hopes.
But is was not to be.
Elk River dominated the opener rallying from a brief one run deficit in the third to score four times and go on to pull away at the end.
Apollo, a 12-10 team, also came from behind going ahead 3-2 with two runs a in the fourth and adding one in the fifth.
That proved just enough to hold off Bemidji which got that one back in the sixth but could came no closer.
Elks still a jinx
Elk River continued to be a roadblock for Bemidji teams in the opener, pounding out 15 hits off Chelsea Yost and scoring in three of its six at bats, stranding another 12 runners on the day.
The Elks took a 2-0 lead in the first on a single and home run. Bemidji took its only lead in the third with three runs. Megan Gullickson doubled and Erika Weimann walked,. Amber Teal moved them up with a sacrifice and Kaia Sele's sacrifice fly plated pinch runner Taylor McLean.
Meg Claypool singled in Weimann and scored on a one bagger by Emily Larson.
But the Elks came back with four on three singles and a double and tacked on two more in the fourth on a two out error after a single and double.
Bemidji scored its final run in the fifth when Teal singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored when Sele's bunt single was thrown past first.
But the losers had only two more bases runners with neither advancing past second.
Kelsey Roach went the route to win, yielding seven hits, fanning four and walking two. The Elks reached 18-7 with the win.
Yost had six strikeouts and no walks in falling to11-3.
The second game was a far closer affair.
Apollo scored in the second but Bemidji came back with two when Paige Jensen walked and Brittany Thompson reached when her sacrifice bunt was bobbled for an error.
Chelsea Johnson singled to score Jensen and Summer Monsrud's bunt single plated Thompson.
But Casey Parsons singled in two runs in the fourth to send Apollo back in front and what proved to be the winning run came in the fifth without a hit.
Two walks around an error loaded the bases and a ground out scored the run.
Bemidji stranded a runner in the fifth but scored in the sixth when Thompson doubled and Yost singled her home. But a double play ended that frame and Monsrud was stranded in the seventh after reaching on a bunt single.
The sophomore outfielder had three of the six Bemidji hits.
Jensen went down to her first loss in seven decisions, literally knocked out of the game in the seventh when a line drive caught her in the midsection. Yost came back to get the last out.
The loss ended the careers of nine Bemidji players.
They include Yost, Teal, Haley Johnson, Tara Ripplinger, Thompson, Jensen, Claypool, Gullickson and Sele.
Replacements will move up from the fine 17-2 B Team that dominated most of its foes this spring. One of the first was Monsrud who was elevated in the final weeks of play.
Bemidji ended one of its finest years in history at 19-4.
"We just didn't play our game today," said a disappointed Coach Brad Takkunen. "We didn't attack the ball like we have all year and we were shaky in the field all day. I really thought this team had a legitimate shot at reaching the state."
Elk River 204-200-x--8--15--2
Yost (11-3) and Gullickson
Roach and Sleet
- - - -
Parsons and Gray
Jensen (6-0), Yost (7) and Gullickson