Softball: Bruns’ nine RBI help Elks beat Apollo, Alexandria at sectional

Power hitting by Michaela Bruns and errorless team defense carried the Elk River Elks to a pair of Section 8AAA victories on Friday in Alexandria in the sudden-death rounds.

The No. 5 seeded Elks beat No. 12 St. Cloud Apollo 6-2 and No. 4 Alexandria 12-2, earning a slot in the four-team, double-elimination playdowns starting Monday in Brainerd.

Bruns, sophomore third baseman, was 6-for-8 with a homer, three doubles and nine RBI in the two games.

Eighth-grader Jayme Langebehn was 6-for-9 with a double and triple, scoring six runs, and senior Bethany Athey was 4-for-7 with three RBI. Langebehn, Bruns and Athey bat 2-3-4 in the lineup.

Anna Pipenhagen pitched the distance in both games as the Elks improved to 12-10 with a six-game win streak. The Elks were not giving anything away, as they not only committed no errors each game but Pipenhagen issued just one walk for the day.

In the four-team, double-elimination playdowns that remain, the Elks face top-seeded Brainerd (19-1 and ranked No. 7 in Class 3A,) at noon Monday, while No. 7 seed Rocori (11-6) faces No. 3 Big Lake (11-6). The two winners will duel at 2 p.m. while the two losers play an elimination game. The semifinals will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. and the finals Thursday at 5 p.m.

Elks 6, Apollo 2

Bruns was 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs and three RBI, leading a 12-hit attack along with Lanegbehn, who ripped a single, double and triple in four trips, stealing two bases and scoring three runs.

Dani Edwards was 2-for-3 and Kathi Opsahl and Austyn Beese each had a hit and RBI.

Pipenhagen was nicked for nine hits but walked none and struck out four.

For Apollo (4-15), Amelia Walz took the loss, pitching the distance. Mel Gebhardt, Caitlyn Pederson and Abby Pekara had two hits each.

Elks 12, Alexandria 2

Bruns socked three doubles and a single in four trips, knocking home six runs and scoring three.

The Elks’ 15-hit barrage also included Langebehn 3-for-5 (three runs), Bethani Athey 3-for-4 (two doubles, three RBI), leadoff batter Jess Neuman 2-for-4 (three runs), and Austyn Beese 2-for-3 (RBI).

Pipenhagen struck out a season-high 11 batters and limited the Cardinals to four hits and one walk.

For Alexandria (13-7), Taylor Ellingson pitched the distance, giving up 15 hits and five walks. Jess Syvrud and Ellingson each had a hit and RBI.