Softball: Maple Grove (again) scuttles Elks 6-5

Elk coach Stacey Sheetz huddled with her pitcher, catcher and infield when Maple Grove loaded the bases in the fifth. The Crimson wound up with five runs. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Elk coach Stacey Sheetz huddled with her pitcher, catcher and infield when Maple Grove loaded the bases in the fifth. The Crimson wound up with five runs. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

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.

Sydney Smith led Maple Grove.

Sydney Smith led Maple Grove.

“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.

Jayme Langbehn smiled at first base after hitting a two-run single for the Elks. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Jayme Langbehn smiled at first base after hitting a two-run single for the Elks. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

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.

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