A pair of long triples, in back-to-back innings, saved the day for the Elk River softball team as the Elks stayed alive in the Section 7AAA tournament on Monday in Brainerd.
The No. 2 seeded Elks lost to Bemidj 2-1 and trailed Big Lake 1-0 in the last of the sixth before big hits by Bethani Athey and Kathi Opsahl pulled out a 2-1 win.
Moriah Bruns pitched both games for the Elks (16-7).
They will return to Brainerd on Wednesday to face Bemidji at 4 p.m., with the winner taking on top-seeded Brainerd at 6 p.m. Brainerd is 19-0.
“We played on their JV field where the fences were about 300 feet,” said coach Stacey Sheetz. “Bethani hit one over the left field and Kathi hit a gapper, They both rolled a long way.”
Athey’s triple in the sixth knocked home Kayti Hanson, who had singled, stole second and was bunted to third, to knot the score 1-1.
Opsahl’s triple in the last of the seventh gave the Elks an opportunity to win. With Ali Krohn pinch-running, Jessica Neuman, pinch-hitting, hit a grounder to the second baseman. Even with the infield pulled in, Krohn was able to beat the throw to the plate.
Bruns gave up seven hits and two walks, striking out one.
The Elks had seven hits against Jaden Lund, who pitched three scoreless innings, and Osheja Dobie, who pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up the runs. They had three triples, the other by Hanson, who was 2-for-3.
Alexis Lund was 2-for-4 for Big Lake (14-8) and scored the run on a hit by Dobie.
About the Bemidji loss, Sheetz said, “We only had five hits, but we had chances to win. We made a couple of errors that hurt us. We fielded better in the second game … I’d like a chance to play Bemidji again.”
Bemidji (14-6) stymied the Elks on a five-hitter by Jess Yost with two strikeouts.
Bruns gave up four hits and two walks, striking out seven. Dani Edwards was 1-for-2 and scored the lone run.
Summer Monnsrud was 1-for-2 plus a walk, stole two bases and scored both runs for Bemidji. Jineane Williams had an RBI single.