Jacks slip by Lakers
All three runs were scored in the first inning as No. 1 Bemidji earned a spot in the championship game of the Section 8AAA softball playoffs after defeating No. 3 Detroit Lakes 2-1 Monday, May 28 in Bemidji.
The Lakers got a fantastic start to the game as leadoff hitter Laura Prussia jacked the first pitch from Gabbi Takkunen over the fence for a 1-0 lead.
Takkunen retired three straight batters and proceeded to take command of the game limiting the Laker offense the final six frames.
DL had only four hits in the game and Takkunen only allowed one batter into scoring position the whole game.
In the bottom of the first inning, Anikka Takkunen got on base with a one-out bunt single and Evette Morgan launched a two-run homer over the right-center fence to take a 2-1 lead.
DL’s Laura Prussia got on base with a two-out walk and moved to second base on a single by Alexis Ostlie but Prussia was stranded with Takkunen retired Matteya Borah on a grounder to end the top of two. Prussia was the last DL batter to touch second base
Bemidji used small ball to get the first two batters on base in the third inning, but DL got out of the jam when starting pitcher Madilyn Kirchner struck out Gracie Fisher and catcher Emily Moran gunned down Sam Edlund trying to steal third base to end the inning.
Mercedez Bellanger reached base with two outs in the Laker fourth on the only error of the game - a high throw to the first base bag. Borah bunted to get on in the fifth and Taylor Prussia hit a two-out single in the seventh but DL could not get any traction on the basepaths.
Centerfielder Mackenzie Braukmann made a nice running, over-the-shoulder catch in center field in the Jacks’ fifth as the DL defense and Kirchner mirrored the efforts in the field of the top seed.
Bemidji also only put one batter in scoring position after the first inning. Emma Stanoch singled with one out in the sixth and took second on a one-out sacrifice bunt by Maddie Hanson. Kirchner fanned Gabbi Takkunen to end the threat.
Kirchner struck out six batters and walked two in taking the loss. Takkunen struck out two and walked one to earn a hard-fought victory.
The three other Laker hits came from the bottom of the order, along with Prussia’s homer to start the game. Takkunen held DL’s two through six batters to 0-14 at the plate.
All of Bemidji’s hits came from the top half of the order with Annika Takkunen leading all hitters with a 2-2 game on a bunt and a slap single. She was hit by pitch in her third at-bat and scored once.
Bemidji improves to 15-7 overall and awaits the culmination of the elimination bracket to face a team in the 8AAA final that will need to defeat the Jacks twice to advance to the state tournament.
The Lakers (14-8) get a rematch with Sartell-St. Stephen (14-10) for a chance to get back at Bemidji.
In the bottom bracket, the Sabres defeated Sauk Rapids 11-4. Alexandria eliminated Little Falls 6-1. The Sabres took the Cardinals out 6-5 to reach the elimination bracket final against Detroit Lakes.
That game will be played Thursday, May 31 in Bemidji at 2 p.m.
The winner of Sartell and Detroit Lakes will face Bemidji at 4 p.m. in the title game with a second championship game, if necessary, time to be determined - Friday June 1.8AAA Softball playoffs:DL 100 000 0 - 1 4 0BEM 200 000 X - 2 5 1WP: Gabbi Takkunen LP: Madilyn KirchnerHR: Laura Prussia (DL); Evette Morgan (BEM).