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Blaze win state tourney

The Bemidji 14-U softball team battled back through the losers' bracket this weekend, winning five straight times to retain its state tournament title at St. Peter.

The meet drew 20 teams from throughout the state.

The Blaze came out swinging in Saturday's opener, stopping Hutchinson 12-2 in six innings.

Jess Yost went the route, fanning 14, walking one and allowing no hits.

She also had three of the 13 Bemidji hits with a home run. Hannah Neeland had two hits.

Bemidji continued its hitting barrage, blanking the Minnesota Blast 14-0 in four frames in its second start.

Yost went the first three innings, fanning four and allowing one hit. Monica Wittner closed the game with a strong inning. Bemidji had 12 hits with Hannah Olson and Sylvia Grimm each having two.

Bemidji then faced unbeaten Kasson-Mantorville Sunday and went down to a 6-3 setback, managing only six hits and committing three costly errors. Olson had a double.

Dropped to the losers bracket, Bemidji opened with a 14-3 win over Stewartville, scoring eight times in the second and five in the sixth.

The Blaze pounded out 14 hits

Brianna Neumann and Wittner combined for the pitching win. Jessa Lusby had three hits.

Yost then hurled a two hitter, fanning 12 in a key 2-0 win over Sauk Rapids.

Both runs came in the second. Bemidji had 10 hits with Olson getting three, one a triple.

Bemidji was then rematched with Kasson-Mantorville and wasted little time in posting a 13-1 win, scoring six runs in both the first and second innings.

Yost and Neumann combined in the pitching chores. Bemidji had 11 hits with Neumann getting a single and double.

That win sent Bemidji into the final against unbeaten Rockford, needing two wins to take its state title again.

The Blaze established control early in the first game, closing out play in four innings with a 13-0 decision.

Yost hurled all four frames fanning five.

That forced a second game for the championship with Bemidji even more aggressive in a 14-0 triumph.

Playing their sixth game of the day, Bemidji banged out 13 hits to back Yost's shutout hurling and played flawless defense.

Courtney Black, Jasmine Yerbich and Yost all had two hits.

Coach Brittany Black attributed the title to a "total team effort".

The Blaze closed an outstanding year at 37-2. Many of its players will challenge for varsity berths on next year's Bemidji High team.



At St. Peter

Hutchinson 000-200--- 2

Bemidji Blaze 240-303---12

Yost and Black

Minnesota Blast 000-0--- 0

Bemidji Blaze 068-x---14

Yost, Wittner (4) and Black

Kasson-Mantorville 100-221---6

Bemidji Blaze 010-101--3

Yost, Neumann (6) and Black

Stewartville 000-300--- 3

Bemidji Blaze 180-005---14

Neumann, Wittner (4) and Black

Sauk Rapids 000-000-0----0

Bemidji Blaze 002-000-x---2

Yost and Black

Kasson-Mantorville 000-1--- 1

Bemidji Blaze 660-1---13

Yost, Neumann (4) and Black

First Game

Rockford 000-0--- 0

Bemidji Blaze 542-2---13

Yost and Black

Second Game

Rockford 000-0--- 0

Bemidji Blaze 175-1---14

Yost and Black

Record 37-2