SOFTBALL: Bemidji’s win streak snapped by Alexandria in section playoffs
A walk-off double snapped the Bemidji High School softball team’s 10-game win streak Thursday.
ALEXANDRIA -- A walk-off double snapped the Bemidji High School softball team’s 10-game win streak Thursday.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 2-2 game, Alexandria (15-6) senior Emma Magaard ripped a double into left-center field. The third-seeded Lumberjacks (11-11) decided to intentionally walk senior Emily Harris – setting the stage for sophomore Kinzie Johnson.
Johnson took the 1-1 high fastball and belted it over the head of the Bemidji right fielder. Maagard, who was on third, crossed home for the winning run in the Section 8-3A winner’s bracket semifinal.
The first one to greet Johnson in the postgame celebration was Harris, who pitched the last three innings for the second-seeded Cardinals. She allowed one hit and struck out two batters to earn the win.
The game-winning hit would’ve driven in Maagard from second base, but her opportune baserunning took the pressure off Johnson. Bemidji catcher Beth Bolte dropped a pitch in the dirt before Magaard took off for third and slid head-first under the tag. One pitch later, she crossed home plate.
Base running was shaky for the Cardinals in the middle innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Bemidji threw out Paige Goetsch at the plate despite some controversy at third base. The run would’ve put Alexandria up 3-2.
The Cardinals threatened again an inning later with three walks. However, no runners touched third base. With runners on first and second, a dropped pitch behind the plate started the fiasco.
It had been 13 days since Alexandria played in its last competitive softball game, so the rust was to be expected.
Despite Bemidji pitcher Taylor Waukazo stymieing the Alexandria bats for the better part of Thursday afternoon, the Cardinals got the start they wanted. Johnson drove in two runs with a two-out single into left field after a costly error at third base.
Alexandria starting pitcher Josie Steidl threw three perfect innings before the Bemidji bats came alive. Back-to-back doubles from Bolte and Jody Pemberton cut the lead in half. A sacrifice fly from Hannah Alexander tied the game 2-2.
The inning could’ve been worse if not for great catches from centerfielder Maddie Bubolz and second baseman Brooke Stender.
The Lumberjacks will host the elimination bracket on Tuesday. Bemidji was one of the hottest 8-3A teams heading into Thursday’s game.
BHS will face an elimination game against fifth-seeded Little Falls at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8. The winner will meet either Sauk Rapids-Rice and Detroit Lakes at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The win sets up Alexandria against top-seeded Sartell (17-2) in the winner’s bracket final.
Alexandria 3, Bemidji 2
BHS 000 200 0 - 2-4-1
ALX 200 000 1 - 3-9-0
WP: Harris (3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB)
LP: Waukazo (6.1 IP, 3 R, 9 H, 5 K, 6 BB)