by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Not even with a team batting over .400, and riding 10-game win streak, could Elk River finally beat Maple Grove in softball.
The unbeaten Crimson scuttled the Elks 6-5 on Monday in Elk River, foiling the Elks’ chances for a conference title.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten them. They’ve got our number,” said Elk coach Stacey Sheetz.
The Elks are 5-2 in conference and 11-2 overall, also losing Anoka 4-3 before winning 10 straight by lopsided margins. Anoka has one loss, to Osseo. Maple Grove will host Anoka on Wednesday.
The Elks took a 3-0 lead in the first but finished with just four singles and a double against Crimson senior Sydney Smith, who walked five and struck out nine.
The Elks loaded the bases in the first as Marie Deaton singled, Michaela Bruns was hit-by-pitch and Kathi Opsahl walked. Smith snagged a line drive by Jess Neuman, then got ahead of Jayme Langbehn 1-2. But she wild-pitched home a run, and Langbehn grounded a hard single to center to score two runs.
The Elks and Anna Pipenhagen led 3-1 until the fifth when Maple Grove loaded the bases with nobody out on a walk, infield hit and a perfect bunt. Smith and Jordan Mauch ripped back-to-back two-run singles to spark a five-run inning.
The Elks scratched for a couple in the sixth but went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Maple Grove had 12 hits and five walks off Pipenhagen, with Taylor Bratten 3-for-4, and Abby Brunell and Sammi Sadler each 2-for-4.
Langbehn was 2-for-2 plus a walk. When she singled in the fourth, she was thrown at stealing as the Elks tried to add to a 3-1 lead. Deaton, Bruns (double) and Opsahl had a hit apiece. Neuman had a ground-out RBI.
The Elks will play at Coon Rapids on Wednesday.