After losing its slender lead to a four-run fifth inning from visiting Brainerd, a late push was not enough to help Bemidji softball rally back in a 6-4 defeat on Friday at the BHS Softball Field in the Lumberjacks’ first game in almost two years.
With a roster comprised entirely of players taking part in their first varsity game after a year away from high school competition, the Lumberjacks traded runs with the Warriors in the first during a tight start to the game. After scoring the tying run during the first, Jody Pemberton was able to reach once again in the third on a single before taking second thanks to an error.
Bemidji subsequently took a 2-1 lead not long after on a groundout from Courtney Bullie that plated Jordan Hunsberger from third.
Despite a strong game from senior starter Taylor Waukazo in the circle, a two-out error from the Lumberjacks coupled with a strong-hitting fifth inning from Brainerd helped the visitors go ahead for good. Emma Tautges picked up a game-tying hit before an error later allowed another run to score and set the stage for a two-run hit from Meghan Smith.
Trailing 5-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, Bemidji climbed back through RBI hits from sophomores Elizabeth Oster and Beth Bolte to cut the deficit to one.
The Warriors picked up an insurance run in the top of the seventh and Bemidji failed to muster another offensive push in the bottom half of the inning.
Waukazo took the loss despite allowing just one earned run out of five surrendered across five innings on four hits, with four walks and eight strikeouts.
Bemidji will next travel to St. Cloud Apollo for a doubleheader on Tuesday.