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Patriots fall to Hermantown 3-1 in 7AA playoffs

The Pequot Lakes Patriots softball team suffered its first loss of the Section 7AA playoffs on Tuesday, May 27, when they fell to Hermantown 3-1, in the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Pequot Lakes was scheduled to face Cloquet in Tuesday’s second game.

Three of the game’s four runs were unearned. Hermantown tied it 1-1 in the third and assumed a 2-1 lead in the fourth before adding an insurance run in the sixth.

The Patriots, 17-6 overall, had won three close games last week to reach the winner’s bracket.

Pequot Lakes advanced in the first round of Subsection 1 play by defeating No. 8 Pine City 12-8 on Tuesday, May 20, in Pequot Lakes. The Patriots then qualified for the double-elimination portion of section play, and defeated Proctor 8-5 and Cloquet 8-6 on Thursday, May 22, in Cohasset.

Patriots 12, Pine City 8

On May 20, Pequot Lakes spotted the Dragons a 3-0 lead early before rallying with 12 straight runs, including three in the third, four in the fourth and five more in the fifth. Pine City rallied to cut the deficit, but the rally fell short.

Haley Wiebolt was 3-3, scored three runs and had four RBI for the Patriots. Barb Miller had two hits and scored three runs while teammate Kayla Miller and Katie White each had two doubles and drove in a pair of runs. Maddie Galligan was 2-4. White was also the winning pitcher as she had 10 strikeouts and allowed just one earned run.

Pequot Lakes enjoyed a 12-8 edge in hits, but committed six errors to just one for Pine City.

“We came out flat, and made too many errors to make a close game out of it,” said Pequot Lakes coach Bret Sergent.

Patriots 8, Proctor 5

On May 22, Pequot Lakes scored twice in the first on RBI singles by Miller and Hannah Zimmerman. The Patriots extended the lead to 4-1 with two more runs in the second on singles by Galligan, Laura Squires, Wiebolt and Miller. The Rails answered with two unearned runs in the third to cut the deficit. But Pequot Lakes gained a 5-3 lead with a run in the third on singles by Galligan, Squires and Wiebolt. The Patriots extended the lead in the fourth on Whitney Marchwick’s RBI on a fielder’s choice and Taylor Crocker rapped a two-run double.

Proctor answered with two unearned runs in the seventh to make the final score 8-5. White was the winning pitcher as she struck out six and walked five. The Patriots enjoyed a 17-9 edge in hits, but made four errors while the Rails played errorless ball.

Wiebolt was 3-4 while Crocker, Miller, Zimmerman, Galligan, White and Squires each had two hits.

“We really hit the ball well against Proctor, but we did strand nine runners on base,” Sergent said.

Patriots 8, Cloquet 6

In the second game on May 22, Pequot Lakes rallied twice before they came home with a win over the Lumberjacks.

Cloquet used four hits to assume a 3-0 lead in the third inning, but the Patriots tied it in the bottom of the inning. Galligan and Marchwick each singled and Miller stroked a two-run double. Miller drove in the third run with a fielder’s choice. The Lumberjacks answered with three unearned runs for a 6-3 lead in the sixth inning.

Pequot Lakes rallied in the bottom of the sixth with the first run on a bases-loaded walk to Crocker. White then lined a two-run single to tie it and Miller followed with a two-run double that the senior called “one of the biggest hits of my career” to cap the five-run rally.

“I wasn’t too worried with Katie and Kayla coming up,” Sergent said. “I knew they would come through.”

In the seventh, the leadoff hitter doubled for Cloquet, but was stranded as the next three hitters were retired. Miller was 3-4 with two doubles and two RBI while Marchwick also had two hits and scored twice.

White, who had four strikeouts against the Lumberjacks, now has the school record with 53 career pitching wins - breaking the old mark of 51 wins set by Emma Hoglund. White has just 15 career losses.

“It’s a great feeling,” White said of the record. “It’s something I wanted to do since I started pitching varsity in ninth grade.”

Sergent said White was deserving of the record.

“I’m happy for Katie as she has always worked hard on her pitching,” he said.