by Scott DCamp
The Northland softball team moved into a virtual tie for the top spot in the MCAC Northern Division after pummeling visiting Hibbing 9-0 and 23-2 in a pair of conference games Saturday, May 4.
The Pioneers entered the game as the definite favorite, having already defeated 22-1 and 16-7 in a pair of road games earlier this year.
“We knew going in that Hibbing had some unfortunate events happen to their team,” said Northland Head Coach Paul Peterson. “They lost their starting pitcher to a broken hand earlier in the year.”
The Pioneers jumped on the Cardinals in game one, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, four in the second, and two more in the third, before adding a run in the bottom of the fourth.
Kalee Wall got the game one start and allowed just two hits while tallying four strikeouts.
“Kalee pitched really well, with a two-hit shutout,” said Northland Head Coach Paul Peterson. “She got her 100th strikeout in that game. She continues to get better as the season goes along. She’s keeping the other team off balance.”
Northland saved its best offensive showing for game two. Northland showed both patience and power in a 20-run first inning that saw the team bat around twice.
“In the second game, we got off to a really good start. Our batters are pretty patient and we took some walks.”
Overall, Northland took 16 walks in the game and collected 14 hits. Sade Westbrook led the way with a 2-for-4 day that included a double, home run and six RBIs.
Mariah Stueness improved to 5-1 on the season after allowing two runs on five hits. She walked two batters and struck out three.
The wins by Northland paired with Central Lakes going 1-1 in its weekend series vs. Itasca means that Northland is now tied in the loss column with Central Lakes. The teams will meet Wednesday in Brainerd with first place and likely the right to host the Region 13B Tournament on the line.
Northland’s home finale against Vermilion, originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, was cancelled by Vermilion. If the games are not made up, they will become forfeits and Northland will officially move into a first place tie with Central Lakes.
“We are gearing up for another big week. We are tied with Central Lakes and we play them Wednesday in Brainerd,” Peterson said. “We’ll be ready to go Wednesday and finish up on the road with Mesabi and Rainy River.”
Game 1 r h e
HCC….. 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 2 0
NCTC… 2 4 2 1 x – 9 7 1
Pitching – (NCTC) Kalee Wall – W (13-8), 5 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 4 strikeouts.
Offensive highlights – (NCTC) McKailah Salway 1/1, 2 runs, walk, 3 RBI; Haley Price 1/1, run, walk, 2 RBI; Mariah Stueness 2/3, 2 RBI. Game 2 r h e
HCC….. 0 0 1 1 0 – 2 5 0
NCTC…20 0 1 2 x – 23 14 0
Pitching – (NCTC) Mariah Stueness – W (5-1), 5 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts.
Offensive highlights – (NCTC) Sade Westbrook 2/4, home run, double, 4 runs, walk, 6 RBI; McKailah Salway 2/2, 3 runs, walk, 3 RBI; Kelsey Landman 2/3, 3 runs, 2 walks, 2 RBI.
MCAC Northern Division Softball Division Overall W L W L
Central Lakes 16-2 22-10
Northland 14-2 19-13
Itasca 13-7 17-21
Rainy River 9-9 14-21
Mesabi Range 4-12 4-18
Hibbing 0-10 1-14
Vermilion 0-14 0-17
MCAC Southern Division Softball Division Overall W L W L
St. Cloud 12-1 25-11
Anoka-Ramsey 13-3 20-15
Ridgewater 7-7 8-16
MS-Fergus Falls 5-7 10-9
Rochester 4-9 11-13
Minnesota West 0-0 0-0
Riverland 0-14 0-27