SOFTBALL: Bemidji sweeps Moorhead to win eighth in a row
BEMIDJI — Bemidji’s win streak keeps growing.
Another solid pitching performance from Jess Yost, combined with a big-hitting, opportunistic offense, helped the Lumberjacks sweep Moorhead in a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon, improving Bemidji’s record to 13-3 overall and running its winning streak to eight in a row.
The Lumberjacks took game one of the twinbill 3-1 before turning around and capitalizing on an error-prone Spuds defense in the second game to win 17-4 in five innings.
“We’re playing pretty well right now,” BHS head coach Brad Takkunen said. “Jess pitched very well for is in the first game and the second one we put the ball in play.”
In game one, Yost once again dazzled from the pitching circle, striking out 15 Spuds and giving up just one hit, a single in the third inning.
But Yost also gave Bemidji all the offense it would need early in the game, blasting a three-run home run in the first inning to give the Jacks a 3-0 lead.
After Spuds pitcher Jessica Larson gave up two singles, Yost made her Moorhead counterpart pay with a one-out shot to left-center. It would have been an impressive hit on its own, but with the wind blowing in from the outfield on a warm but blustery day it was an even more impressive.
Yost didn’t give up a hit until the third, but got herself out of that with a strikeout.
Yost into some trouble in the sixth inning, when she walked leadoff hitter Taylor Rasmussen — one of just two hitters Yost would walk that day.
Rasmussen eventually came around to score following a wild pitch and a throwing error to make it 3-1.
The Spuds still had a chance to tie the game with a runner on and one out but Yost induced two pop-ups to get herself out of a jam.
After the Lumberjacks failed to score in their half of the sixth, Yost came back out for the seventh and struck out the side to secure the victory.
Takkunen said Yost was typically tough to hit in game one but worried about his team’s defensive performance.
“We’ve got to keep teams from scoring unearned runs,” he said. “That’s been happening more this season.”
In game two, the Jacks allowed the Spuds to score two unearned runs in the third inning.
The Spuds’ defense, however, was worse.
Moorhead committed a whopping 13 errors in the second game and the Lumberjacks took advantage of the free outs. They scored 17 runs on 16 hits — most of them either singles or bunt singles.
Only eight of Bemidji’s runs were earned and the game ended after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
“We got a lot of runners thanks to their errors,” Takkunen said. “We took advantage of those errors and put the ball in play, which was good to see.
“But it was also a sloppy game on our part, too.”
The Lumberjacks committed four errors in the game, which would have been less acceptable to Takkunen if not for Moorhead’s 13.
Monica Wittner pitched in game two for the Jacks and struck out four batters. She walked three and gave up three hits.
Kylee Bartholomee started for the Spuds (. She didn’t pitch badly — finding the strike zone and mixed her pitches well — but had little help from her defense. She finished with five strikeouts in five innings of work.
The Lumberjacks take on Grand Rapids Thursday in another doubleheader at Bemidji.
The Spuds (4-11) have a home game against Fargo North set for Friday.
Bemidji 3, Moorhead 1
Moorhead 000 001 0 – 1 1 1
Bemidji 300 000 x – 3 7 1
Larson (L) and Rasmussen. K-8, BB-1.
Yost (W) and Black. K-15, BB-2.
Bemidji 17, Moorhead 4
Bemidji 307 34 – 17 16 4
Moorhead 103 00 – 4 3 13
Wittner (W) and Black, Conkle (5). K-4, BB-3.
Bartholomay (L) and Rasmussen. K-5, BB-3.