BEMIDJI — A pair of Grand Rapids pitchers had no clue on how to pitch Sylvia Grimm during Thursday’s doubleheader at the Bemidji High School diamond.
In the first game of Tuesday’s action Grimm ripped a pair of singles and was hit by a pitch in her three at-bats. Those contributions helped the Lumberjacks post a 5-0 victory.
Grimm fared even better in Bemidji’s 5-2 win in the nightcap as she stroked three singles and drove in a pair of runs to complete a memorable day that saw the sophomore first baseman reach six times in as many plate appearances.
“I felt very comfortable and relaxed all day,” Grimm said. “It was a weird feeling but a good feeling.”
In Thursday’s second game Thunderhawks pitcher Meg Pehrson threw her entire arsenal at Grimm. In the first plate appearance Grimm ripped a single to center on a fast ball and hustled to second base when the defense was confused about where to target the relay. The hit was crucial as it sparked a rally which provided Bemidji’s first run and set the tone for a comeback victory.
In the fourth inning Pehrson tried to fool Grimm with a slow change-up but Grimm promptly poked it into no-man’s land in front of the converging outfielders.
A few pitches later Bri Neumann smacked a double which scored pinch-runner Annika Johnson with the tying run.
In the top of the sixth Grimm delivered again, this time with a solid single to right which scored two teammates and highlighted a 3-run inning.
“Batting is 100 percent mental,” Grimm said. “You have to outsmart the pitcher and not let the pitcher outsmart you. In the back of my mind I know that the change-up is there and if the pitcher throws me one I’m going to hit it.”
“Sylvia is seeing the ball very well and is giving us steady at-bats,” said BHS coach Brad Takkunen whose team improved to 15-3 with Thursday’s sweep. “Today she had five hits off two respectable pitchers.
“Much of the success at the plate can be traced to pitch selection,” Takkunen continued. “You battle and battle until you get a pitch to hit. And then the key is to do something with that pitch. And Sylvia is doing something with those pitches.”
Grimm’s teammates also were doing the right things with the right pitches Thursday.
In the opening game the Lumberjacks pounded 10 hits on way to the 5-0 triumph.
Bemidji wasted no time taking control as singles by Jasmin Yerbich and Courtney Black set the table for Yost’s RBI double. Another run scored on a wild pitch.
In the fourth inning Mariah Dahl singled and Grimm was hit by a pitch. Later in the frame Neumann and Yerbich contributed run-scoring hits.
Bemidji’s final run came in the fifth when Yost, Dahl and Grimm all singled.
Yost went the distance on the mound and tossed a seven-hit shutout. The senior fanned four and did not issue a walk.
Grand Rapids finally touched Yost in the first inning of the second game when a pair of BHS errors opened the door for two Thunderhawks runs.
But Yost and the defense stiffened and Grand Rapids did not score again.
Bemidji’s offense produced single runs in the second and fourth and the big 3-run sixth inning proved to be decisive.
“I have confidence in my teammates and I think we could go a long way in the tournament if we stay focused,” Grimm said.
“Everybody on this team loves the game so much that we are going to come out in every game and try our best. “We know what is waiting for us.
“I definitely see state in our future if we can keep playing this way.”
Takkunen also believes that this year’s team is special and he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lumberjacks go deep into the playoffs.
“The girls have worked very hard,” Takkunen said. “The regular season ends Saturday (at home against Cloquet) and after that game we will have played 18 games in 11 days. We have been on the field a lot but we also were in the gym a lot before being able to get outside.
“Being on the field is where we want to be.”
Grand Rapids 000 000 0 – 0 7 0
Bemidji 200 120 x – 5 10 0
Koenbitz (L) and Haynes. K-4, BB-0
Yost (W) and Conkle. K-8, BB-0
Bemidji 010 103 0 – 5 10 3
Grand Rapids 200 000 0 – 2 4 3
Yost (W) and Conkle. K-4, BB-1
Pehrson (L) and Haynes. K-9, BB-0