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PREP SOFTBALL: Circle supremacy: Morgan tosses no-hit gem in Bemidji split

Bemidji High School junior Evette Morgan winds up for a pitch in the second inning of her no-hitter against Detroit Lakes at Chet Anderson Stadium on Saturday. Morgan finished with four strikeouts in the 10-0 win to start the doubleheader split. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School sophomore Anikka Takkunen uses a running start to try to reach base in the first inning of game one of Bemidji's doubleheader split with Detroit Lakes at Chet Anderson Stadium on Saturday. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Bemidji High School softball head coach Brad Takkunen prefers junior Evette Morgan at shortstop.

He may need to reevaluate things after Saturday.

“She’s a very good ballplayer,” Takkunen said. “She’s multifaceted. Very solid at short, very good pitcher. To be honest with you, I’d like to find a way to keep her at short, but if she keeps pitching like (Saturday), I guess we’re going to have to use her, too.”

Morgan made a statement in the circle against Detroit Lakes, spinning a no-hitter to kick off a doubleheader split at Chet Anderson Stadium that saw BHS win the opener 10-0 before DL salvaged a 10-7 comeback in the finale.

“I was just focusing on the pitches and worrying about the count,” Morgan said, noting that her attention wasn’t on the no-hit bid. “I try to stay confident and mentally there, (knowing) that my teammates are behind me to back me up.”

A pair of third-inning walks were all that Morgan surrendered, remaining perfect otherwise. She even helped her own cause from the plate -- early and often -- starting with an inside-the-park home run in the first after clubbing a rocket to right.

It turned out to be all the run support she would need, but the Lumberjacks (3-1) still stayed hot throughout.

A hit parade made way for a three-run fourth, as Sam Edlund, Anikka Takkunen and Morgan all picked up RBI singles for a 6-0 game.

Morgan continued to stymie the Lakers (1-1) from the rubber, working up to four strikeouts on the day before the Bemidji bats ended things in the fifth.

Keena Kondos and Savannah Bakke singles helped spark another BHS threat, which only ended after a bases-loaded, walk-off walk for Morgan brought the mercy rule into play and clinched her no-hitter with the 10-0 final.

“She just was hitting her spots and had some good velocity,” coach Takkunen said. “Things were going well that way.”

“I was really proud of my team because they were there to back me up,” Morgan added. “It was just a good win.”

Game two didn’t fare so favorably for Bemidji, though.

The Jacks entered the seventh up 6-2, three outs away from the sweep, before Detroit Lakes rallied with lively bats for the first time in the doubleheader.

“They gained some confidence, really,” coach Takkunen said. “I don’t think we made a ton of mistakes. There might have been a couple things here or there. But they started hitting the ball, and they started putting pressure on us.”

A triple, two singles and another triple started the DL seventh to bring the Lakers within a run at 6-5. After the tying and go-ahead runs crossed on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch, Jocelyn Patnaude brought in two more with a soft single past the drawn-in infield.

Before the nightmare frame finally finished for Bemidji, Rachael Perkins knocked in one more for a 10-6 Detroit Lakes lead.

BHS scraped one run across in the home half of the seventh and threatened for more, but the Jacks left the bases loaded and surrendered their potential sweep with the 10-7 final.

“I was happy with the girls, the way they competed. It was just, DL, they put some pressure on us,” coach Takkunen said. “...The girls were competing, they did a nice job. There were just some blunders that I would like to assume and hope that we’ll fix when it comes toward May, when we get to that point.”

Morgan finished the afternoon 4-for-7 with four RBIs, while Edlund went 3-for-6 with another three walks and six stolen bases.

“I think it’s been a really long weekend, and also I think we all got tired (at the end),” Morgan said. “But I know we put up a good fight.”

Bemidji is scheduled for its first road trip of the season on Tuesday, April 24, traveling to Cloquet for a 4:30 p.m. matchup with the Lumberjacks.

Bemidji 10, Detroit Lakes 0 (Five innings)

DL 000 00 -- 0-0-5

BHS 201 34 -- 10-8-0

WP: Morgan

LP: Kirchner

Detroit Lakes 10, Bemidji 7

DL 000 011 8 -- 10-12-3

BHS 111 210 1 -- 7-10-1

WP: Bellanger

LP: Morgan

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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