SOFTBALL: Bemidji bats come alive in 10-0 win over Broncos
BEMIDJI -- Finishing the regular season seeded in the top four of the section standings is the immediate goal of the Bemidji softball team and when the Lumberjacks host Grand Rapids in a doubleheader today that goal could be reached.
Heading into Wednesday's game against International Falls the Jacks owned the fourth spot with a QRF of 65.1. And Bemidji didn't hurt its position Wednesday as it pounded International Falls 10-0 in five innings.
Preserving the fourth spot will be the objective when BHS and Grand Rapids clash today and Lumberjacks coach Brad Takkunen believes that a split would accomplish the goal. A sweep would be even better but taking a pair from the Thunderhawks will be tough.
"Grand Rapids (11-6) will be a good test for us," Takkunen said. "And that is what we want. In order to prepare for the section meet we need to play against good teams."
International Falls entered Wednesday's game with a 6-5 record but the Broncos were no match for the Lumberjacks. Bemidji, which improved to 9-8, scored in all but the first inning and continually teed off on International Falls pitcher Teagan Anderson.
The onslaught produced 12 hits and many productive outs.
"International Falls is a young team but we still had to make the plays defensively and put the bat on the ball," Takkunen said. "Except for the first inning I thought just about all of our at-bats were productive. Over the weekend in the series at Fargo North we hit the ball hard and we continued to do that Wednesday.
"I think many of the pieces are coming together for this team."
The offense came to life in the second inning and kickstarting the surge was Abby Hinrichs who sent a hard grounder to short that zipped between the legs of the defender. Mariah Dahl followed with a soft liner past the mound and Tori Koch plated the first run with a single over the second base bag.
A wild pitch put runners at second and third and Monica Wittner drove in the lead runner with a single to center. Koch was out at home trying to score on the single but Wittner was able to race all the way to third on the relay to the plate.
That extra base proved helpful as Karmen Clark reached on a fielder's choice when the third baseman decided to hold the ball instead of attempting to get the out at first. Hanna Olson followed with another shot to third and she beat the throw across the diamond to fill the bases.
The third run of the inning scored when Heather Olson's ground ball to third was booted and the Lumberjacks were ahead to stay.
In the third inning Jordyn Follis' single, Hinrichs' double, a fielder's choice and Koch's sacrifice fly combined for two more runs and the Jacks settled the issue with three more in the fourth.
That rally included singles by Clark, Hinrichs and Dahl, a hit batter and two Bronco errors.
BHS ended the game with a pair of two-out runs in the lower fifth as Hanna Olson ripped a line-drive home run over the left field fence, Sarah Apel gapped a triple to right-center and Sylvia Grimm delivered an RBI single to center.
Hanna Olson had a home run and a single, Hinrichs belted a double and a single and Dahl contributed a pair of singles to pace the attack.
"We had 12 hits. We also had many productive outs and they were good to see," Takkunen said. "We're hitting the ball well and hopefully we can continue to do that."
Today's doubleheader begins at 4:30 p.m. and the games will close Bemidji's regular season. The seedings will be determined Sunday and the section playoffs will begin on Wednesday at the homes of the top four seeds.
Int. Falls 000 00 - 0 3 4
Bemidji 032 32 - 10 12 1
Anderson (L) and Johnson. K-1, BB-1
Wittner (W) and Hinrichs. K-5, BB-3