BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University softball team bounced back from a late-inning loss in game one of a doubleheader with Northern State to topple the Wolves in game two, 10-4. The BSU bats made the difference in the nightcap, as the pitching was equally strong with Amy Potter (Bovey, Minn.) and Ali Willard (Hutchinson, Minn.) each throwing complete games.
In game one, a late Beaver rally fell just short as BSU took a 3-2 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference loss. The Beavers got seven strong innings from the right arm of Amy Potter.
After three scoreless innings, the Beavers got on the board first with an RBI-double from Amy Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) after Bridget Smith had reach on a single. Smith finished with a perfect day at the plate going 3-for-3.
The Beavers 1-0 lead, lasted until Northern State blew up for a three runs in the sixth inning. Potter pitched her way out of the jam to keep BSU within striking distance.
After a scoreless bottom of the sixth for the Beavers, it came down to the last half inning. After two straight strikeouts, leadoff hitter Tara Hiscock reached first after being hit by the pitch. The next batter, Kasey Callison (Eagle River, Alaska), roped a double over the NSU centerfielder’s head to bring Hiscock around to score and cut the lead to 3-2. Docken popped out to the third baseman to end the rally.
Potter took loss for the Beavers giving up three runs (three earned) on seven hits and striking out seven NSU hitters. Her season record dropped to 5-6.
Game two saw Bemidji State to get off to a hot start. A two-run first came on the strength of good base-running and timely hitting. After Docken drew a two-out walk, Jessica Pullar (Elk River, Minn.) moved her to second with a single to set the stage for the hot-hitting Bridget Smith. Smith responded with a bases-clearing triple to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead.
The Wolves responded two runs in the top of the fourth to knot the score at 2-2. A Beaver error on a squeeze play helped tie the score for NSU.
Bemidji State took the lead back with some aggressive play in the home half of the fourth. A squeeze bunt from Katie Prettyman (International Falls, Minn.) brought home Klaers. Later in the inning, Michelle Taylor scored on a botched pickoff attempt at third base to give the Beavers a 4-2 lead.
The Wolves threatened to take the lead back. After plating one run to bring Northern State to within one, the Wolves put runners on second and third with nobody out. But the Beavers got a double play when first baseman Kasey Callison made on over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory and then wheeled around to throw out a runner tagging from third. Ali Willard (Hutchinson, Minn.) retired the next hitter to get out of the jam.
Callison’s play also sparked the Beaver offense in the next half inning. RBI-singles came from Docken, Smith, and Taylor. The Beavers also got an RBI from Callison as part of a six-run inning. The insurance runs put the BSU lead to seven runs, 10-3. Smith completed her career day going 2-for-4 in game two, including three RBIs. Docken and Taylor each collected two hits in the game.
On the bump, Ali Willard allowed one more run in the seventh to give the Beavers a 10-4 victory. Willard picked up her team-leading sixth victory of 2006. She gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and walked just three in seven innings of work.
The win in game two improved the Beavers record to 14-14, 3-7 in the NSIC.
This weekend Bemidji State hosts the annual NSIC Northern Crossover. All eight teams will come to town and play four games each in the two-day event. The Beavers will play games at 10:00 am and 2:00 p.m on Saturday, and games at noon and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.