Matteya Borah scored the winning run on a hard shot to third base by Autumn Kulik in the top of the seventh to break open an five-all tie lifting No. 3 Detroit Lakes to a 6-5 second round victory on the road at No. 2 Bemidji in the Section 8AAA softball playoffs Thursday, May 23.
Borah singled to lead off the seventh and moved to second on a Madilyn Kirchner sacrifice bunt. Laura Prussia was intentionally walked to create force plays. Mercedez Bellanger grounded out to short to move both runners up with two outs.
Kulik’s smash bounced off the chest of Bemidji third baseman Gracie Fisher allowing Borah to race home with the game-winner when Kulik beat the throw to first base.
Kirchner retired Bemidji in order in the bottom of the seventh to seal the victory.
Both teams traded two runs in the sixth and DL avoided disaster by a matter of inches.
Taylor Prussia belted a two-run homer with Sara Freeman aboard to give the visitors a 5-3 lead.
“That was a huge homer by Prussia,” DL head coach Phil Kirchner said. “She misplayed the ball earlier in the game and that didn’t affect her batting, battling and overcoming adversity was needed.”
Bemidji responded by putting Evette Morgan and Fisher on base to start the bottom of the sixth leading to a long fly by Emma Stanoch that hit off the top of the fence becoming a long RBI single rather than a three-run homer to take the lead.
Fisher scored on a Maddie Hanson fielder’s choice to tie the game at five with one out. Kirchner worked around a Savannah Bakke single by striking out Maggie Marcotte and Lindsey Thies leaving courtesy runner Rylee Bradley and Bakke stranded in scoring position.
Anikka Takkunen walked and scored on a two-run homer by Morgan to give Bemidji a 2-0 lead in the first.
DL’s Dakota Moran cut the lead in half with a solo shot in the top of the second.
The Lakers took their first lead of the game in the top of the fifth.
Freeman scored on a Borah hit past the Bemidji right fielder and Borah put DL up 3-2 coming home on a single by Kirchner.
DL’s lead was short-lived as Marcotte was hit by pitch, took second on a wild pitch, third on a sacrifice by Thies and came home on another pitch that got behind Moran at the plate.
Both pitches went the distance. Kirchner struck out seven to improve to 12-3 on the season.
The Lakers have won four straight games to improve to 15-6 overall and will play at No. 1 Sartell-St. Stephen (16-5) Monday, May 27 for a spot in the section championship game.
The Sabres defeated No. 5 Alexandria 11-1 in five innings. DL and Sartell met early in the season with the Sabres winning 14-1.
The teams have split the last six meetings.