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.
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.