Photo by bob statz
Heading into the Section 5A softball tournament a few weeks back, the Isle Huskies were seeded number one in the east division of the section, and the Sebeka Trojans were seeded number one in the west division. Accordingly, the two won their sub-sections, advancing to the semi-final round of the double-elimination event, both with undefeated records in the tournament. Isle handed Sebeka their first loss, earning the Huskies a berth in the section finals as the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
Sebeka suffered their second loss of the tourney, so Isle took on the once-beaten Hinckley/Finlayson Jaguars in the section finals on Thursday, May 30. A win would advance the Huskies to the state tournament as the only unbeaten team in the sections. A loss to the Jags would see the two schools squaring off that same day for the right to represent Section 5A at state.
As it turned out, Isle beat Hinckley/Finlayson, 8-1, in the first game and will be one of eight section winners to take part in the 2019 Class A Softball State Tournament, on Thursday, June 6 and Friday, June 7. The Huskies will enter the tournament with an overall record of 18-3.
“One nice thing about the state tournament is that we are guaranteed to play two games the opening day,” Isle coach Darcey Remer said.
The Isle Huskies and Sebeka Trojans met on May 28 at the neutral site of Brainerd High to compete in the semi-finals of the Section 5A softball tournament. Each entered the tournament seeded first in their division of Section 5A, and each were undefeated to that point in the double-elimination tournament.
Behind the superb pitching of Isle 9th-grader Jill Thompson and with some timely hitting by the Huskies offense, Isle beat Sebeka, 6-3. Thompson allowed three runs on five hits, walked just two and struck out four.
Tommi Spengler knocked in Isle’s first run in the first inning with a single that scored Izzy Krawiecki. Up 2-0, Spengler again came through with a 2-RBI sacrifice. The Huskies never trailed in the game.
The loss by Sebeka sent them to a game with Hinckley/Finlayson – each having one loss in the tournament. Hinckley won earning them a spot in the finals against unbeaten Isle on May 30.
Sebeka 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 3
Isle 1 1 0 2 2 0 -- 6
At stake for the Isle Huskies and Hinckley/Finlayson Jaguars in the finals of the Section 5A Softball Tournament on May 30 was a trip to the state tournament.
Isle entered the game undefeated in section play while Hinckley/Finlayson had one loss in the double-elimination format.
The Huskies used the combination of solid pitching and timely hitting that got them to the finals to do in the Jaguars, 8-1, earning them a ticket to the state Class A Softball Tournament for the first time since the spring of 2003.
“We got great pitching from (Jill) Thompson, and it seemed like everyone of our batters came up with clutch hits when we needed them,” Isle head coach Darcey Remer said following the big win.
Isle got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning when Grace Carlson hit a hard smash that glanced off the mitt of a Jaguar outfielder, scoring Izzy Krawiecki who had beat out a bunt for a hit, stole second base and advanced to third on a passed ball.
Hinckley/Finlayson countered in their top of the second inning, parlaying two hits into a run, despite the fact that Thompson wound up striking out the side.
Isle went ahead in the bottom of the second when Lexi Lancrain, who had led off the inning with a single and worked her way to third base, scored on a passed ball.
Thompson escaped a jam in the third inning thanks to a double play started when she snagged a softly hit ball directly to her.
The Jaguars squandered a lead-off base hit in the following inning when Thompson got the Jag hitters to pop out twice and Isle shortstop Tommi Spengler made a good play on a grounder for out number three.
Up only 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, Isle got some breathing room when an RBI-single off the bat of Rachael Horsch scored Gallion who had singled, and a few seconds later, Anna Bayerle knocked in Horsch with a big double to left-center field.
Thompson again slammed the door on the Jags offense following a lead-off single in the sixth by striking out the next batter and relying on her infield to make a few plays.
Isle put the game away in the bottom of the sixth when they sent nine batters to the plate, scoring four runs with the big blasts coming off the bats of Spengler and Bayerle.
Thompson, who started three of the four post-season games on the mound, picked up the win, giving up one run on four hits, issuing two walks and striking out six.
Jag pitching gave up 12 hits, including two each off the bats of Lancrain, Krawiecki, Gallion and Carlson. Jaguar pitching also walked one and struck out four.
Hinckley/F. 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Isle 1 1 0 0 2 4 -- 8