Sophomore pitcher Aleah Shogren took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Isabelle Neadeau blasted a home run as Bemidji softball bounced back from a 7-4 Rocori victory to capture game two of a Senior Day softball doubleheader 7-0 on Saturday at the BHS Softball Field.
Game 1: Rocori 7-4 Bemidji
The Lumberjacks held a 4-3 lead with two outs in the seventh inning before the Spartans used an unconventional infield single, error, and three-run home run to snatch a win in the opening game of the afternoon.
The result was a hard-luck loss for senior Mariah Graves, who fired an impressive pitching performance in the circle that left Bemidji in sight of the victory. She closed out the opening frame of the game by hurling a quick second strikeout that left Rocori leading 1-0, but with a runner stranded at third.
Bemidji quickly got the run back in the bottom of the first on a wild pitch that scored Payton Weidemann.
The Lumberjacks missed an opportunity to take the lead by leaving the bases loaded to end the inning, but Graves quickly went back to work in the second. She fired two more punch outs for a quick 1-2-3 inning.
Weidemann’s RBI single in the bottom of the second plated Katarina Malterud from second base and gave the Lumberjacks a 2-1 advantage.
Command troubles from Rocori pitcher Maggie Primus allowed Weidemann’s courtesy runner Madison Nistler to advance to third on two wild pitches, then score when a throw to third was mishandled.
Jody Pemberton drew a walk from Primus, then stole a base before using two wild pitches to add another run to the lead.
Primus would exit after walking Lexi Tatro, but relief pitcher Shelby Prom prevented Bemidji from increasing the 4-1 lead–and would settle in to allow just two hits and one walk during 5 2/3 innings of work.
Graves continued to work effectively in the circle for Bemidji, surrendering just one hit and two total baserunners from the second through fifth innings.
The Spartans used an error, single, and double to post two runs in the sixth, but Graves notched her eighth strikeout before Primus was caught stealing third to end the inning.
With two outs and a Rachel Heinen on first in the top of the seventh, Rocori made its rally. Summer Hennen’s pop up in front of home plate spun backward off the catcher Weidemann in fair ground before going foul, allowing both runners to reach safely on a fair ball.
Down to her last strike, leadoff hitter Olivia Schroeder’s ground ball to second base was mishandled by the Lumberjacks, allowing Heinen to score from second and tie the game. Madison Terres followed by hitting a three-run home run to left field that would give Rocori a stunning 7-4 lead that it would not relinquish in the bottom half of the final inning.
Graves took the loss despite a season-high nine strikeouts, allowing all seven runs–with only three earned–on six hits with two walks.
Game 2: Bemidji 7-0 Rocori
The Lumberjacks shrugged off the conclusion to the first game of the day by riding Shogren’s one-hit masterpiece and timely hitting off Prom to secure a split of the day.
The first big blow came in the top of the second inning thanks to Neadeau. Leading off the inning against Prom, she smashed a liner over the wall in left field to put the Lumberjacks ahead and give them their first run against the continuing Spartan pitcher.
Shogren allowed a baserunner in the first after an error on the infield and permitted another with a second-inning walk, but left her stranded thanks to a strikeout that ended the inning.
Bemidji’s lead grew to 2-0 in unusual fashion in the third inning when a dropped third strike against Weidemann allowed her to reach first. The throw popped out of first baseman Jenna Boos’ glove, giving Beth Bolte the opportunity to score from third.
Another error helped Pemberton reach base as well, setting the stage for Elizabeth Oster to hit an opposite-field two-run single for a 4-0 lead.
Shogren found her groove in the middle innings on her way to retiring 12 consecutive batters–the fourth coming on a strikeout during the bottom of the third inning.
Another run went to the Lumberjacks in the fourth on Addie Potratz’s deep sacrifice fly to left field.
While Shogren’s quality pitching was suddenly moving into no-hitter territory, the fielding of the Lumberjacks was doing its part to help the effort as well. Tatro ranged deep toward third base from her shortstop position for a groundball, firing across the diamond for Oster to make an outstanding stretch and pick on an inning-ending out in the fourth.
Bemidji added two more runs in the fifth inning through an RBI infield single by Tatro and a wild pitch that would later bring her home from third base.
The game’s intrigue turned to Shogren’s no-hit bid, which stood two outs away after she fielded a groundout to start the seventh. However, a subsequent ground ball between third and shortstop would give Rocori its only hit of the afternoon, as Shogren bounced back for a strikeout and groundout to end the game.
Shogren’s final line included just two walks and five strikeouts to go with the lone hit and shutout performance. Oster totaled two RBI and six different Lumberjacks posted one hit in the game–led by the home run from Neadeau, her second of the week and season.
Bemidji (6-8) will next travel to Alexandria for a pair of games on Tuesday.