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SOFTBALL: Bemidji sweeps Grand Rapids in regular season finale

GRAND RAPIDS -- With a 7-3, 7-4 sweep of Grand Rapids on Thursday, the Bemidji High School softball team concludes its regular season with a 13-7 record and a chance to earn the top seed in the Section 8-3A playoffs.

After leaving the bases loaded and allowing two runs in the first inning, the Lumberjacks’ offense attacked with full force in the third as all nine hitters stepped to the plate to take a 4-2 lead.

Following a three-hit shutout loss to International Falls on Wednesday, BHS welcomed the scoring.

“We just had a better approach, and we just had more fun,” Bemidji head coach Brad Takkunen said. “It just seemed like we were trying to focus on not stressing so much about succeeding or not succeeding and just trying to get good pitches to hit, and we were able to get things rolling pretty early offensively and that just kind of was able to set a tone where we had confidence.”

The light mood in the Jacks dugout may have been a result of pre-game shenanigans during an hour-long rain delay prior to the first pitch, according to Takkunen.

“Our kids were messing around a little bit during the rain delay, and so I think that helped them relax a little bit, and maybe they figured out a little secret there,” he said.

Bemidji held the Thunderhawks (8-9) to just one more run in the contest while scoring one in the fourth and two in the fifth for the 7-3 win.

Sam Edlund finished the game with four hits, two runs, two stolen bases and an RBI, while Emma Stanoch went 2-for-3 with a run and three RBIs.

In the circle, Gabbi Takkunen secured the win allowing three earned run on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out one over five innings.

In game two, Maddie Hanson threw a complete game, as well, allowing four earned runs on six hits and one hit batter.

While the Jacks gave up four runs, their offense stayed hot to once again score seven – three in the second inning and four in the fourth.

Edlund, Anikka Takkunen and Hanson each logged two hits for the Jacks, ending the regular season the way any team wants to with playoffs around the corner.

“It feels real good,” coach Takkunen said. “The girls, they just had a lot of fun today, and I’m hoping that will carry into playoffs. There’s a little more pressure in playoffs, but hopefully we just try to relax and have fun like we should have learned in our 20-game season. Lessons are there, I guess it just depends on realizing them and getting that leadership we’re looking for and just having a lot of fun.”

The coaches from Section 8-3A are scheduled to meet Sunday to determine tournament seedings, and the Lumberjacks figure to be among the top teams.

“It would be nice to get that top seed of course,” Takkunen said. “I’m not sure how it’s going to shake out because we don’t play everyone in the section, but I’d be real surprised if we weren’t No. 1 or 2.”

Bemidji 7, Grand Rapids 3

BHS 004 12 -- 7-12-0

GR 200 10 -- 3-7-2

Bemidji 7, Grand Rapids 4

BHS 030 40 -- 7-10-1

GR 200 20 -- 4-6-2