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High School Softball: Bemidji stuns Warriors in 8-4A opening round

Bemidji 8, Warriors 3 The key: The Lumberjacks scored five runs in the second inning Overall: Brd 18-3, Bem 8-11 Next: No. 6 St. Cloud Tech at No. 2 Brainerd in Section 8-4A losers bracket 5 p.m. Thursday. Now the Brainerd Warriors will see what ...

Brainerd Warrior softball coach Shane Jordan talks to his team after losing to Bemidji 8-3 in the opening round of the Section 8-4A tournament Tuesday at Adamson Field. Gallery and Video
Brainerd Warrior softball coach Shane Jordan talks to his team after losing to Bemidji 8-3 in the opening round of the Section 8-4A tournament Tuesday at Adamson Field. Gallery and Video

Bemidji 8, Warriors 3

The key: The Lumberjacks scored five runs in the second inning

Overall: Brd 18-3, Bem 8-11

Next: No. 6 St. Cloud Tech at No. 2 Brainerd in Section 8-4A losers bracket 5 p.m. Thursday.

Now the Brainerd Warriors will see what they are made of.

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Entering the first round of the Section 8-4A tournament as the No. 2 seed, the Warriors were favored to hand the Bemidji Lumberjacks a loss Tuesday at Adamson Field. Instead, the seventh-seeded Lumberjacks bolted to a 6-0 lead after 1 ½ innings and went on to an 8-3 upset victory.

Fortunately for the Warriors the tournament is double elimination. They have a shot at redemption when they host No. 6 St. Cloud Tech 5 p.m. Thursday.

Warriors coach Shane Jordan and his team know they are capable of bouncing back, hitting the ball better and pitching better.

"With that being said, we get another chance," he said. "That was kind of the message (afterward) is how do we respond to this? Do we give up? Do we respond? Do we have a little fire in our belly? Sometimes you have to give credit to the other team. In probably every aspect, they played better than we did, and we tip our cap to them.

"Hopefully our girls have a little fire in their belly, like I do, like our coaching staff does. We'll come ready to practice (Wednesday) and see what happens Thursday."

Winning pitcher Evette Morgan did a little bit of everything for Bemidji. She went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, including an RBI single in the first and a 3-run triple in the second. On the mound, she walked three and struck out three and allowed seven hits in a complete game.

"All I ask is she competes," Bemidji coach Brad Takkunen said. "She can throw the ball a little bit, She has a nice changeup. If she can hit her spots, now we have a chance. She missed some spots, but give credit to Brainerd for getting a couple of nice hits. But at the same time, she competed the whole time."

Anikka Takkunen, Sarah Ek and Mak Quinn each had two of Bemidji's nine hits. Quinn contributed a run-scoring single in the second. Elli Hanson's 2-run homer in the Bemidji seventh was the dagger.

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"There have been some defining moments in the years I've coached, but that may be one of the biggest," Brad Takkunen said. "When the ball went over, Brainerd had been pecking away. They were thinking 'Hey, we're going to come up with it 6-3, get three runs,' and then all of a sudden it's 8-3. That took a lot of gas out of them."

Elaina Christiansen crushed a solo home run in the second and Jordyn Sullivan hammered a 2-run blast in the fourth to account for the Warriors' runs. In the third, fourth and fifth, Brainerd left two runners at second and one at third and had a runner thrown out at third in the sixth.

"We have confidence all the way through our order for someone to step up and get a base hit, and I hope the girls have confidence, too," Jordan said. "We have some girls who may be struggling with that a little bit. It's my job to get their confidence back up, and hopefully we can do that (in practice Wednesday), come out and play our best game Thursday."

Right-hander Jillian Ewald relieved Sullivan in the third and limited the Lumberjacks to two runs on four hits the rest of the way. Ewald walked none and struck out five.

"Jillian did fantastic, she was awesome," Jordan said. "She's a senior, a leader, a captain, and she showed that tonight. It was maybe a little eye-opener for me, too. Maybe I should have went with her right away. I had other reasons for doing what I did, it didn't work out, and it is what it is.

"Coaches will always reflect. I won't sleep all night."

Bemidji, which lost to Brainerd 7-4 in the regular season, proved regular-season records and seedings mean little.

"All season we've been struggling," Brad Takkunen said. "It's been a mental thing for us. I think actually getting the No. 7 seed, even though we didn't want that, it kind of relaxed us like 'Well, hey, we're expected to lose. Just relax, go in there and play hard.'

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"We got some runs early. That helped us relax even more and we kept it going, which was nice to see."

Bemidji 150 000 2-8 9 0

Brainerd 010 200 0-3 7 1

Bemidji: Evette Morgan and Madi Schultz.

Brainerd: Jordyn Sullivan, Jillian Ewald (3) and Clare Ceynowa, Elaina Christiansen (3).

WP: Morgan.

LP: Sullivan.

2B: Brd-Emma Korhonen, Richelle Bjork, Sullivan

3B: Bem-Morgan

HR: Brd-Christiansen, Sullivan; Bem-Elli Hanson

SB: Brd-Korhonen, Christiansen

Sac: Bem-Sam Edlund, Annika Takkunen

RBIs: Brd-Christiansen, Sullivan 2; Bem-Morgan 4, Hanson 2, Mak Quinn

DP: Bem 1

LOB: Brd 5, Bem 4

Related Topics: BRAINERD WARRIORS
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