GLENDIVE, MT - The Bay Norse Softball Team (28-8) entered the NJCAA Region XIII Tournament as the second seed on Friday afternoon. After dropping their first game against Dakota County Technical College (11-19), they bounced back and took care of Gogebic Community College (3-28) and Lake Region State College (13-27) to continue their tournament run.
DAKOTA COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE - 5, BAY COLLEGE - 3
Four unearned runs would sink the Norse in their first ever postseason appearance. A Norse error in the second would load the bases and Mackenna Johnson (FR, Grantsburg, WI) singled to drive in the first run of the game. Two quick outs would end the threat, limiting the damage.
With one out the Norse would get a double from Aubree Saunders (SO, Escanaba, MI) and a single from Claire McInerney (FR, Escanaba, MI) set runners up at second and third. An error would follow, tying the game, and a two out wild pitch put the Norse on top after the second inning. DCTC responded with an RBI single in the top of the third, and the score would be tied once again.
The back-and-forth battle would continue as Maddy Griffin (FR, Escanaba, MI) doubled to left, driving in another run, putting Bay ahead 3-2 after three innings.
Disaster struck in the top of the sixth. With two outs, a key error on a pop fly would extend the inning for the Blue Knights. A pair of passed balls would advance that runner to third, and a base on balls put DCTC in a first and third situation. Another passed ball tied the game, and a second walk put multiple runners on again. Bailey Larkin (FR, Shoreview, MN) came up with a big hit, doubling to left and driving in two runs.
A leadoff double for the Norse would go for naught in the sixth. With one out, Bay would try and score the runner from third on a fly ball to center, but the run was cut down at the plate for the third out. Bay went in order in the seventh, marking Bay's first loss in the double-elimination tournament.
Griffin was two for three with an RBI and two doubles. Rhiley Hubert (SO, Rapid River, MI) took the loss, despite giving up just one earned run. She struck out two, walked three, and gave up six hits in five and two thirds innings of work. Lexi Winling (FR, Gladstone, MI) finished the final one and one third.
BAY COLLEGE - 20, GOGEBIC COMMUNITY COLLEGE - 3
A ten run fourth inning finished off an offensive outpouring for the Norse, allowing them to cruise to the big victory, bringing an end to Gogebic Community College's season.
A three-run homerun by Sarah Trudgeon (FR, Bessemer, MI) gave the Samsons an early lead. Bay responded with one in the bottom half, and added five more in the second to take the lead for good. After a four run third would break the game open, and the big outpouring in the fourth would be a crushing blow.
The Norse would amass 15 hits in the contest and take advantage of seven Samson errors.
Emily LaFave (SO, Escanaba, MI) collected four hits in four at bats, scoring three times. Beth Gannigan (FR, Coleman, WI) hit a homerun and drove in five in her three for four effort. McInerney had two hits, one of them being a double, in four at bats. Eve LaFleche (FR, Hillman, MI) also had two hits in four at bats, a homerun, two RBI, and three runs scored.
Winling pitched all five innings for the win. She gave up six hits, three runs, four walks, and five strikeouts.
BAY COLLEGE - 8, LAKE REGION STATE COLLEGE - 2
The Norse would extend an early lead and hold on for the victory to advance their tournament run to Sunday afternoon.
Saunders started the scoring for Bay with an RBI single in the first. Bay would extend the lead in the second, as Emily Bruntjens (SO, Escanaba, MI) drove a two-out triple to left. She would score on a passed ball. After a Jerricka McAlpine (SO, Escanaba, MI) double, Kaitlyn Hardwick (FR, Gladstone, MI) hit a fly ball homerun to right, building the Norse lead to four runs.
Bruntjens hit her second triple in the fourth, driving in a run this time and scoring on the ensuing sacrifice fly off the bat of McAlpine. Saunders added a run in the fifth with a solo homerun to left.
Lake Region State got an offensive boost in the sixth. Samantha Shumway (FR, Cove, UT) and Tyra Robertson (FR, Moab, UT) led off with solo homeruns, cutting into the Bay lead. The next batter would reach via error, but that would be the last base runner for Lake Region State, as the Norse would slam the door on any comeback. Bay added a run in the seventh with an RBI single from Richelle Vandeville (FR, Rapid River, MI).
Bruntjens was three for four with an RBI and two runs scored. McAlpine added two hits and a walk in two at bats, and drove in one. Hardwick, Vandeville, and Saunders each tallied two hits in the attack. Hubert pitched the first four innings and gave up just one hit while striking out three. Winling worked the final three, picking up two strike outs.
The Norse are now set up for a rematch with Dakota County Technical College on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 pm.
BAY COLLEGE 26, DAKOTA COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE 7
The Regional Tournament rematch went in a completely different direction this time around, as the Norse would explode for 26 runs in a route that brought an end to Dakota County Technical College's season.
Griffin would get the offense started in the first, launching a three-run homerun to left, giving the Norse a 4-0 lead. Errors started to pile up on the Blue Knights in the second, as the Norse would add five more, highlighted by RBI singles off the bats of McInerney and Vandeville.
The third inning would extend the lead out of reach. Bay College would score 14 runs and hit five homeruns in the frame. Bruntjens, LaFave, LaFleche, Vandeville, and Griffin would each drive the ball out of the park, as the Norse would go on to cruise to a big victory.
Bay took advantage of 9 Blue Knight errors and amassed 22 hits in the contest. Olivia Capodilupo (FR, Gladstone, MI) added a homerun in the fourth inning for the Norse. Every Bay player to get a plate appearance recorded a hit in the game, with eight players collecting multi-hit games. Griffin collected six RBI and three hits, while Vandeville and Bruntjens would also tally three hits.
The win advances Bay to the finals of the NJCAA Region XIII Tournament. The tournament is a double-elimination format, with host school Dawson Community College (41-3) being the last remaining undefeated team. Bay College will have to win twice to advance, while one loss for the Norse will send the Buccaneers onto the District Championship. First Pitch is scheduled for 4 pm.