6/8/2017 3:36:00 PM Hawks walk off on Chisago Lakes for state tourney berth
This Chisago Lakes softball team with their second place plaque.
Chisago Lakes 11, Hermantown 4 (8 innings) With one loss in the Section 7AAA double-elimination softball tournament, the Wildcats entered play last Thursday needing to beat undefeated Hermantown twice in a row to advance to the state tournament. The Wildcats took care of business in the first game, scoring seven runs in the top of the eighth inning to beat the Hawks 11-4 to advance to the section championship game against Hermantown immediately following. The game was played on Thursday afternoon, June 1 at Chisago Lakes High School, which was the designated site for the last few rounds of the tournament.
Trailing 3-0 after four innings, the Wildcat bats started to wake up in the top of the fifth. Gina Virga had a bunt single with one out. Alison Bergerson singled to the left side of the infield and Cassie Lynch followed with a single up the middle to drive in Virga to cut the Hawk lead to 3-1. Ellie Frischmon and Jessica Bergerson walked to lead off the top of the sixth for the Wildcats. Hannah Sogard followed with a single to load the bases. Jenna Carlson grounded to the pitcher and Frischmon was forced at home. Bergerson scored on a wild pitch to cut the Hawk lead to 3-2, with the other two runners each moving up a base. Virga walked to re-load the bases. Alison Bergerson grounded to short and Sogard was forced at home for the second out. And on a 2-2 pitch, Lynch popped a ball into short center field. The Hawk second basemen raced out to get it and dove, but the ball ticked off the end of her glove and rolled into center. Two runs scored and the Wildcats led 4-3. Kailey Mihalik led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to tie the game at 4-4. Neither team scored in the seventh, so it was time for extra innings.
Carlson walked to lead off the top of the eighth. After Virga struck out, Alison Bergerson doubled to the corner in left to score Carlson with the go-ahead run. A single by Lynch and a walk to Madison Thornburg loaded the bases. An infield single by Istvanovich drove in one run and Frischmon followed with a two-run double to left to put the Wildcats up 8-4. Jessica Bergerson beat out a hit to short and Istvanovich scored on the play. Frischmon, for some reason, decided to take off for third after the throw went to first and the first baseman threw Frischmon out easily at third for the second out. Sogard ripped a triple into the right field corner to drive in a run and Carlson singled to drive in Sogard to make the score 11.-4. Hermantown loaded the bases on two singles and a walk in the bottom of the inning, but three strikeouts by Lynch put an end to any Hawk thoughts of a big comeback.
Hermantown 3, Chisago Lakes 2 With runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom of the seventh of the section championship game, Jordyn Thomas singled to drive in the winning run to give the Hawks a 3-2 win over the Wildcats and a trip to the state tournament. The loss let the Wildcats just short of their first trip to state. The game was played at Chisago Lakes on Thursday, June 1.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard first. Madison Thornburg reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the second. Kaitlyn Istvanovich followed with a looping double down the right field line, moving Thornburg to third. Ellie Frischmon hit a grounder back to the pitcher. Thornburg took off on contact and was easily thrown out at home for the first out. Jessica Bergerson hit a grounder to short and beat it out for and infield hit, driving in Istvanovich with the first run of the game. Hannah Sogard then doubled into the left field corner, scoring Frischmon and moving Bergerson to third. With the infield playing back, Jenna Carlson rolled a grounder to short and Bergerson did not take off from third. It looked like she would have scored easily on the play. Sogard, on second, probably assumed Bergeson was going to score, so she took off for third. The shortstop threw Carlson out at first. Sogard was near the third base bag and scrambled to get back to second. But the throw to second easily beat her back to the bag as she slid into the tag for the third out. What once looked like a potential big inning had fizzled, but the Wildcats till led 2-0.
In the top of the third, the Wildcats put runners on second and third with one out, but failed to score. In the bottom of the inning, Thomas led off with a high fly ball to deep center field. Wildcat center fielder Gina Virga raced back and got near the fence. The ball bounced off the top of the fence – a cyclone fence – popped a few feet up in the air and dropped back on the field. Thomas ended up with a triple. A one-out single by Taylor Vold led to the first Hawk run and cut the Wildcat lead to 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth, the Hawks manufactured a run. After a leadoff walk, a groundout to second moved the runner to second. The next batter flew out to right, with the runner advancing to third. She scored on a single to right to tie the game at 2-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lynch issue a one-out walk. But a Wildcat assistant coach came out of the dugout and pointed out to the umpires that the flex player should not have batted. The umpires ruled that the Wildcats were correct and called the runner on first out for batting out of order. Lynch got the next batter to hit a foul popup near the plate and Istvanovich caught it to end the inning. In the top of the seventh, Alison Bergerson blooped a single into right with one out. But Lynch lined out to right and Thornburg flew out to deep center field to end the inning and kept the score at 2-2. In the bottom of the seventh, Gabby Blomdahl led off with a bunt. She beat the throw to first and went to second when the throw from third baseman Jenna Carlson sailed over first baseman Frischmon’s head. Mihalik walked. And on an 0-2 pitch, Thomas bounced a single through the right side of the field, scoring Blomdahl with the winning run and sending the Hawks to the state tournament.
Lynch, a senior, pitched all eight innings in the first game and all seven innings in the second game. “Cassie really worked hard, showed a lot of stamina and was effective,” said Wildcat head coach Brenda Carlson. “She really stepped it up when we needed her to come through”
After a brief emotional outburst after the game, the Wildcats composed themselves and seemed to be genuinely happy with the medals and team trophy they received for second place. And there didn’t seem to be any lingering anger or disappointment – the players seemed to have put the loss in perspective almost right away. Much of this can be attributed to the coaching style of Carlson and her staff. There isn’t any yelling coming from the coaches and, as a result, the players seem to be looser and less tense. The game is more fun and less stressful. Carlson said “Players don’t need coaches yelling at them. Players know when they have made a mistake and they don’t need a coach making them feel worse. A lot of these girls will be coaching softball and supervising people at work and we hope they take the same attitude into those situations.
“I am very proud of this team. These players have been waiting for the opportunity to show what they can do and they had a very successful season.”