SOFTBALL: Jacks collect 1st win of the year as Izzy Neadeau slides in safe at home
Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth against Rock Ridge, the Bemidji softball team had two runners on with two outs. Adie Potratz laced a single to center field, and Izzy Neadeau was on the move.
BEMIDJI – Izzy Neadeau was on a mission on Friday at the Bemidji High School softball field.
Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth against Rock Ridge, the BHS softball team had runners on second – Neadeau – and first with two outs. Adie Potratz laced a single to center field, and Neadeau was on the move.
She rounded third and headed for home. The shortstop’s throw beat her to the plate, but she beat the ball to the slab, scoring the go-ahead and eventual winning run in Bemidji’s 5-4 triumph.
The victory came after the Wolverines had handled the Jacks 8-1 in game one of the doubleheader, making it a sweet remedy for the bitter aftertaste of the first contest.
“I was like (to myself), ‘Get down! Get down!’ Neadeau said. “(The throw) looks like it's coming right there. So I was just trying to get down (under the tag).”
Neadeau’s slide was a masterful display of baserunning, manipulating a sliver of space at the plate to find an open lane to score.
“Any time that you can put pressure on the defense, that's going to put you in a better position,” said BHS head coach Brad Takkunen. “You put pressure on them, you’ve got chances. A bobble here, a bobble there and the next thing you know, you got a run just from like an infield ground ball or something. And that wasn't happening before. So yeah, that's a big step.”
The Lumberjacks (1-5) took a lengthy slide forward as a whole in Friday’s second game. Down 4-0 early, they rallied back with three runs in the third inning, then added two more in the fifth to take the 5-4 lead.
Aleah Shogren, who took a while to get her bearings in the circle, shut down Rock Ridge the rest of the way, completing a seven-inning full game and picking up the win.
“You could tell a big difference from the first game to the second game,” Neadeau said. “We just didn't have it in that first game. That second game, we were all just in it. Everyone was in it. You could feel we were all in it. And that hyped everyone up on offense. The bats got going and then they didn't stop, and it was great.”
In game one, the key moments weren’t so kind to Bemidji. The Wolverines (4-2) scored in four of seven innings, highlighted by a four-run fifth that put the contest out of reach.
The Jacks didn’t counter with a run of their own until the sixth, which Rock Ridge promptly matched in the top of the seventh.
Maya Schmidt pitched a complete game in the first matchup, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits and taking the loss.
The split came on a windy, chilly day in Bemidji. It was just the latest challenge encountered by the Lumberjacks, who have not yet taken their home field for a full practice due to various weather-related inconveniences.
“This was our first full day outside,” Takkunen said. “We've had some games (on the road), but at our field, we've tried to come out here and we've been minimized every time by rain or snow or whatever. So it's really been a challenge, and the girls have been great. You can see, the kids are young. Even the kids who have been here in the past weren't necessarily starters.
“So we're learning again, and we're starting to work through some of those growing pains. But each game it seems like we're making better steps. We made a few mistakes in that first game, but then in the second game, that was a pretty mature response. The kids played very well defensively and did enough to pull it out.”
Bemidji returns to the field against Greenway at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 1, back at BHS.
Rock Ridge 8, Bemidji 1
RR 102 040 1 – 8-11-0
BHS 000 001 0 – 1-5-2
WP: Morley (CG, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)
LP: Schmidt (CG, 7 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)
Bemidji 5, Rock Ridge 4
RR 301 000 0 – 4-9-0
BHS 003 020 X – 5-12-0
WP: Shogren (CG, 7 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)
LP: Delich (5 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)