BEMIDJI - In her last home pitching start against Grand Forks Red River on May 10, Bemidji's Jess Yost struck out 17 batters. On Tuesday the junior followed that performance with a 14-strikeout effort to lead BHS to a 5-2 home victory over Fargo North.
Bri Neumann picked up where Yost left off in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, as she tossed a two-hitter to help the Jacks complete the sweep with a 12-1 victory.
"Jess pitched well and any time she is on the mound she gives us a chance to win," Bemidji coach Brad Takkunen said. "And Bri followed that by pitching her best game of the season."
The Lumberjacks and Fargo North are not rivals, but Fargo North did bring a 14-3 record into Tuesday's twinbill so the Lumberjacks expected a stern test. And in the opener Fargo North did not disappoint.
"They definitely were competitive in the first game," Takkunen said. "We couldn't adjust to the off-speed pitches by their pitcher (Jordan Novacek), but we managed to do what we needed to in order to get the win."
The Lumberjacks didn't waste much time going on the attack.
With one out in the first inning, Courtney Black reached on a wild pitch and Jineane Williams walked. An out later Hanna Olson found a pitch to her liking and drilled it to the fence in left-center. Yost followed with a single to left and BHS was ahead 3-0.
The home team upped its cushion to 5-0 in the third on singles by Black and Jineane Williams, an error and then Yost's RBI single.
Fargo North scored its two runs in the fourth on a walk, a single and a double, but Yost allowed only one more baserunner the rest of the way.
Yost also paced Bemidji's offense with a pair of singles and two RBIs. Olson also drove in two teammates with her first-inning double.
Fargo North opened the rematch with a first-inning run but BHS countered with two in the second and took control with three runs in the third.
Jineane Williams began the third stanza with a triple to the right-center gap and she scored by beating the throw to the plate following Janelle Williams' grounder.
Hanna Olson promptly plated Janelle Williams with a single and an out later Neumann's double drove in Olson.
The Lumberjacks ended any hopes of a Fargo North comeback by scoring seven runs in the fourth.
The only hit in the inning was Janelle Williams' single, but Bemidji didn't need to put the bat on the ball as three North hurlers combined for five walks and three hit batters.
"In that second game North just ran out of pitching," Takkunen said.
With the section playoffs beginning May 23, Takkunen is hoping to see his team play solid defense and Tuesday he liked what he saw.
"Our hope is that we keep playing defense like we are doing now," he said. "You have to limit your mistakes and pick each other up when someone does make one. And that is what we are doing now."
Bemidji, 12-6, will close its regular season on the road, visiting Grand Rapids Thursday and Cloquet on Saturday.
Fargo North 000 200 0 - 2 3 2
Bemidji 302 000 x - 5 6 0
Novacek (L) and Teschendorf. K-4, BB-1
Yost (W) and Black. K-14, BB-1
Fargo North 100 00 - 1 2 1
Bemidji 023 7x - 12 6 0
Johnson (L), Spies (4), Novacek (4) and Teschendorf
Neumann (W) and Conkle