ROSEMOUNT, MN - The Bay Norse Softball Team (25-7) capped off a four game sweep of the Dakota County Technical College Blue Knights (9-17) on Saturday afternoon. After coming from behind to take a 12-5 decision in the first game, the Norse would shutout their hosts in the nightcap, winning by a final of 3-0.
GAME 1 - BAY COLLEGE - 12, DAKOTA COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE - 5
The Blue Knights would take an early lead as Daymbre Avalos (FR, Avondale, AZ) launched a two-out home run to right field in the first inning. DCTC would then load the bases in the second, and draw a bases loaded walk, starting a rally. A ground ball, an error, and a passed ball would bring in three more runs. The Blue Knights would get four in the second inning, without recording a base hit, putting them up 5-0.
The Norse would answer back in the third. After getting two runners aboard, a sacrifice fly would put them on the board. Kaitlyn Hardwick (FR, Gladstone, MI) followed that up with a triple to right field to bring in another run. She would score on a sacrifice fly from Richelle Vandeville (FR, Rapid River, MI), cutting the lead to two. The Norse offense picked up where it left off when they stepped to the plate in the fourth. Emily LaFave (SO, Escanaba, MI) legged out an RBI triple with one out, and would score on Eve LaFleche's (FR, Hillman, MI) single. Emily Bruntjens (SO, Escanaba, MI) doubled to bring in LaFleche, and after a Jerricak McAlpine (SO, Escanaba, MI) would put two on, Hardwick would belt the fifth consecutive hit for the Norse in the inning. It would end up being her second triple of the game and this time it would drive in two runs. She would score on the ensuing error, bring the score to 9-5 in favor of Bay College.
The Norse would score two in the fifth, highlighted by Bruntjens' RBI double, and add one in the seventh. Rhiley Hubert (SO, Rapid River, MI) was able to shut the Blue Knight attack down, earning the win, pitching four innings in relief. She would strike out five, and give up five hits, no runs, and walk no one.
Bruntjens collected four hits in the contest in five at bats, driving in two runs and scoring three times. Hardwick tallied four RBI with her two triples in five trips to the plate, while LaFleche would go two for two and McAlpine picked up two hits in her five at bats.
GAME 2 - BAY COLLEGE - 3, DAKOTA COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE - 0
Hubert would continue to baffle the Blue Knight bats in the second game. She would go the distance, giving up just four hits, walking three hitters, and striking out five.
Bay would not score until the fifth. A leadoff walk and error set the table, as the Norse would manufacture runs with a groundball and a bunt single by McAlpine to go up by two runs. They took advantage of another error in the sixth, and this time Beth Gannigan (FR, Coleman, WI) drove in a run with a single to center.
The Blue Knights would draw two walks in the seventh, but both runners would be left stranded as Hubert would get two fly balls to end the game, and a four game sweep of the Blue Knights.
"I'm so proud of the fight this team has," said Head Softball Coach Heidi Charon after the game. "To be behind in the first games both days this weekend and have big offensive innings later in the game to come back really shows their grit and focus. Our pitchers have been working especially hard to keep us in these games. And even though they're always solid, our outfield did an exceptional job taking away big hits from a team of strong Dakota County hitters. We're excited to carry this momentum into our regional tournament next weekend."
The Norse will wrap up regular season play on Wednesday, May 1. They will host Silver Lake College in a doubleheader starting at 3. They will then proceed to the NJCAA Region XIII Tournament in Glendive, MT. The six team tournament begins play on Friday, May 3.