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Bemidji carries 11-game winning streak into section playoffs

Bemidji softball coach Brad Takkunen and Jordyn Follis discuss the game situation prior to Follis going to the batter’s box during Saturday’s victory over Cloquet. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — The Section 8-3A softball seedings will be determined today and it appears that Bemidji will be ranked No. 2 or No. 3 when the final QRF ratings are announced.

The top four seeds will be rewarded with a home game in Wednesday’s opening round of the section tournament and the Lumberjacks appear to be a lock for one of those spots. And, as a reward for Thursday’s sweep over Grand Rapids and Saturday’s 7-0 victory over Cloquet in the regular-season finale, BHS could claim second.

Prior to Saturday’s action Elk River had a QRF of 147.3. Bemidji and Rocori each sported 138.8 marks and Alexandria was fourth at 136.8.

“That sweep of Grand Rapids really helped us,” said Bemidji coach Brad Takkunen whose team ended the regular season 16-3 and is riding an 11-game winning streak.

“Winning those two games moved us from fourth to second and I’m sure we didn’t lose any ground after winning on Saturday.”

The Jacks haven’t lost any ground since falling 4-3 on May 8 to Greenway in the opening round of a three-game tournament. Since that outcome BHS has outscored its opponents 91-16 and four of the 11 wins have been shutouts.

“We have been playing very good softball and we need to make sure that we don’t change a thing when the playoffs come,” Takkunen said. “We are rolling along and we want to continue to roll along.”

Saturday against Cloquet Bemidji started to roll in the third inning when the bottom half of the order produced three runs.

Mariah Dahl began the spurt with a two-out single and Jordyn Follis walked. Both runners raced home courtesy of Bri Neumann’s triple and Neumann trotted to the plate when Jessa Lusby bashed a triple to deep center.

The second-inning offense was all Bemidji pitcher Jess Yost would need as she kept Cloquet at bay the entire seven innings. The visitors did advance runners to third in the fourth and fifth frames but neither made it home.

Their best chance to get on the board came in the fifth when Sam Zeadow tried to score on a fly ball to center. Jacks centerfielder Jasmin Yerbich had other ideas, however, as she zipped a perfect throw to the plate and BHS catcher Courtney Black calmly put the tag on Zeadow.

Bemidji cemented its victory with a single run in the third, two in the fifth and one more in the sixth.

Black singled and scored on Yost’s single in the third and singles by Black, Hanna Olson and Yost combined with ground balls by Sylvia Grimm and Karmen Clark for the two runs in the fifth.

Bemidji capped the scoring in the sixth on singles by Neumann and Black.

“The girls have worked hard and all season have continued to get better,” Takkunen said. “We want to make sure that we continue to improve on Wednesday. If we play hard and have fun we’ll be fine.”

Cloquet 000 000 0 – 0 5 1

Bemidji 031 021 x – 7 11 1

Beaupre (L), McMillen (7) and Benko. K-11, BB-0

Yost (W) and Black. K-8, BB-1

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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