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BHS softball team playoff run comes to an end

Bemidji's Jineane Williams swings at a pitch Wednesday. Photo Special to the Pioneer/Steve Kohls, Brainerd Dispatch

The Bemidji softball team saw its season come to an end Wednesday as the Lumberjacks dropped a 4-3 decision to Elk River in the loser's bracket final of the Section 8-3A tournament in Brainerd.

The Lumberjacks finished the spring with a 14-8 record and fell one game shy of playing for the section championship.

BHS forged a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday but Elk River scored two in the bottom of the stanza to take a 3-2 advantage.

The Jacks tied the game with a solo tally in the top of the seventh but Elk River responded with a pair of infield hits and a double to notch the game-winner in the home half of the seventh.

"We had our chances," said BHS coach Brad Takkunen. "It was one of those days when Elk River got the big hit when it was needed but that never happened for us."

A big hit by the Lumberjacks in the second inning could have turned the game around as BHS had the bases loaded with one out after Taylor McLean doubled and Kellie Morehouse and Anna Pence walked.

But Elk River escaped as pitcher Moriah Bruns coaxed Laura Clark into bouncing into a force play at home and Summer Monsrud fanned for the third out.

A pair of Bemidji errors gave Elk River a 1-0 lead in the lower first but BHS knotted the score in the third when Hanna Olson doubled, Jineane Williams singled and Jess Yost plated the lead runner with a fielder's choice.

The 1-1 deadlock continued into the fifth when the Jacks took a 2-1 advantage as Monsrud singled and stole second and Hanna Olson ripped a double to right.

The lead did not last long, however, as Elk River used a single, double and another single to score twice and open a 3-2 lead.

Needing a run in the seventh to extend the game BHS responded as Monsrud singled to center to begin the frame and Hanna Olson bunted her to second. Jineane Williams followed with a double over the left-fielder's head and Monsrud scored the tying run.

"We definitely wanted to get back at Elk River in the eighth inning," Takkunen said. "We felt we would have come through."

That opportunity never materialized, however, as the Elks used a pair of infield hits and a gapper to score the game-winner.

Kaytin Hanson began the inning with a bunt single and Bruns reached when her pop in front of the mound ticked off the glove of Yost who stretched to try and make the grab.

Beth Athey followed with a double to the right-center gap and the game was over.

"Jess gave a tremendous effort on that pop fly," Takkunen said. "If she catches it the runner is doubled off first and there is nobody on with two out.

"There were some tears after the game but we came a long way this season and we should be proud of what we accomplished," the coach added.

Elk River's victory advanced the Elks to the 8-3A championship series against unbeaten Brainerd. The first game was played late Wednesday and, if Elk River won, a rematch would be played today.

A Brainerd victory on Wednesday, however, would reward the Warriors with the section championship.

Section 8-3A

Loser's Bracket Final

Bemidji 001 010 1 - 3 9 3

Elk River 100 020 1 - 4 11 1

Yost (L) and Clark. K-5, BB-1

Bruns (W) and Athey. K-5, BB-2

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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