A four-run sixth inning from Fergus Falls toppled a late-game lead for Bemidji in a blustery 7-6 loss on the road Thursday at the Delagoon Park in Fergus Falls.
The visiting Lumberjacks strung together a walk and consecutive singles to immediately load the bases in the first inning. Following a strikeout, Hannah Alexander was able to drive in one of the runners thanks to a sacrifice fly to left field that was hauled in despite a swirling wind.
The one run was all the Lumberjacks could muster after reaching that position with nobody out, allowing Fergus Falls to tie the game back up in the bottom of the inning after getting its leadoff hitter on base. The Otters followed the same formula of scoring their first hitter of the second inning to take a 2-1 lead into the third.
After a pair of baserunning mistakes kept Bemidji off the scoreboard in the second, the visitors bounced back with a big inning in the third. A walk from Lexi Tatro and single from Beth Bolte put the first two batters of the inning aboard, with each moving up a base on Elizabeth Oster’s groundout. That brought Alexander back up for an infield grounder that turned into a Fergus Falls error–and two runs for the Lumberjacks.
Aided by a steal and wild pitch, Alexander worked her way to third while Isabelle Neadeau coaxed a walk at the plate. Another wild pitch was enough to bring the senior home to increase Bemidji’s lead to 4-2.
Neadeau eventually came around to score on a wild pitch as well, capping a four-run third inning for the Lumberjacks and a 5-2 advantage.
Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the bottom half of the inning, Bemidji pitcher Taylor Waukazo settled in to get a strikeout looking and groundout, leaving the runners on second and third. That set the stage for another ground ball on the infield, which Tatro and Oster smoothly handled for a 6-3 putout to end the inning.
The play was part of a solid afternoon of fielding work by the Lumberjacks, who did not commit an error despite the strong gusts of wind.
Fergus Falls’ Rylynn Krein–who had struck out looking during the Otters’ batting half of the third inning–bounced back in a big way during the fifth by clouting a home run to right-center that trimmed Bemidji’s lead to 5-3.
The Lumberjacks got the run back against Krein thanks to a two-out rally in the sixth, as Tatro doubled and came around to score on a swirling pop fly from Bolte that was misplayed in the Otters’ infield.
But the home side had the decisive half-inning in the bottom of the sixth, as the first six batters of the inning all reached on sharply struck singles. Krein was the last of those to do so, scoring Kellen Frigaard from third to tie the game at 6.
Waukazo rallied to draw a pop fly on the infield and a line-drive out at second, bringing up Kacey Fredrickson with the bases still loaded and the game tied. Her soft grounder to the hole between first and second base made for a tough play for Jordan Hunsberger, bringing in the eventual winning run.
After Krein retired the first two batters of the seventh, Peyton Oelrich gave Bemidji a big chance with a pinch-hit triple. But Hunsberger’s groundout back to Krein in the circle wrapped up the comeback victory for Fergus Falls.
Waukazo went the complete game in the circle for Bemidji, surrendering all seven runs on 16 hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Tatro went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored, while Bolte tallied a 3-for-4 day batting and Alexander knocked in two runs.
Bemidji drops to 1-10 and will return home to play Duluth East for a single game on Tuesday at 4:30 at the BHS Softball Field. The game will air on the Lumberjack Radio Network on KBUN+ (FM 100.1/am1450) and KBUN2 at kbunsportsradio.com.