Hermantown tops Patriots in Section 7AA final
The Hermantown Hawks sent the Pequot Lakes Patriots’ softball team home for the season with a 6-2 victory in the Section 7AA final on Thursday, May 29, in Cloquet.
The Patriots needed to defeat Hermantown twice for a return trip to state, but it wasn’t in the cards as the Hawks made several outstanding defensive plays, including turning two double plays. Hermantown sophomore pitcher Kylie Hoff allowed just one single over the last six innings to send Pequot Lakes packing.
“We played well, but (Hermantown) played better, and hit the ball better,” said Pequot Lakes coach Bret Sergent, whose team also lost to the Hawks in the first round of state last year. “(Hermantown) made some big plays to take some hits away from us. We did have a great year going 18-7, winning the Mid-State Conference for a third straight year and finishing second in the section.”
The Patriots scored twice in the top of the first when Haley Wiebolt singled and Barb Miller walked. Katie White then singled home Wiebolt and Hannah Zimmerman singled to drive in Miller for a quick 2-0 lead.
Pequot Lakes threatened to score before a double play in the third when Rudbeck grounded out to third base, and then White was thrown out at the plate trying to score.
“It was nice to get two quick runs, but if Katie (White) would have been safe at the plate, who knows maybe we would have scored even more runs,” Sergent said.
The Hawks tied it in the third when Jillayne Gilbert led off with a double, Brooke Dahlin tripled and eventually came home on a fielder’s choice. Hermantown assumed a 3-2 lead in the third on Ashley Irwin’s RBI single.
The Hawks added another run in the fifth on a pair of singles and a fielder’s choice to make it 4-2. Hermantown then added two insurance runs in the sixth on a walk, a double by Tess Johnson and a single by Thomas.
The Hawks enjoyed a 10-4 edge in hits, including three by Thomas and two each by Dahlin and Gilbert. Hoff earned the pitching win with six strikeouts and two walks while White suffered the loss in allowing two walks and striking out two.
Patriots reach final
Pequot Lakes split two games on Tuesday, May 27, to advance to the section final against Hermantown. The Patriots lost to the Hawks 3-1, but bounced back with a 4-3 victory over Cloquet in the loser’s bracket.
Against Hermantown, Pequot Lakes grabbed a 1-0 lead early on Zimmerman’s RBI single with two outs, but the Hawks answered with single runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings with the aid of five Patriot errors. Hermantown did strand 12 runners.
“Each team had just five hits, and there was just one earned run,” Sergent said. “You can’t win a close game with all those errors.”
The loss dropped the Patriots into the loser’s bracket against Cloquet.
Pequot Lakes grabbed an early 2-0 lead before the Lumberjacks added a run in the third and took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Kassidy Steen.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, White and Miller each doubled to tie it, and Zimmerman singled in the eventual winning run.
Pequot Lakes had an 8-7 edge in hits while White picked up the win by striking out four. White was also added a pair of doubles, scored two runs while Miller was 2-3 with a double and two RBI.