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Sunday June 26, 2022
RUNS, GALORE: Bay Splits Two Regional Contests

Click the AUDIO button to hear Coach Ross Rahoi post-game comments. Also click the VIDEO to see several Bay College highlights from the first game.

GLENDIVE, Mont.---
The Bay College Norse softball team opened NJCAA Region 13 play on Sunday with a pair of high-scoring games, losing to Miles City (Mont.) Community College, 18-12, before bouncing back to hold off Dakota County (Minn.) Technical College, 11-7, in an elimination game.


The balls were flying around, and out, of the B.L. Baker Stadium, with the pitchers taking it on the chin for most of the afternoon and evening.


In the first game, Bay fell behind early and never could catch up, despite a furious rally in the middle innings. Sierra John and Megan Toplovich both hit two-run homers to help the Pioneers grab a 5-0 lead in the third inning. But Bay bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the third as Ellie Miller and Natalie Belanger both singled home runs, although Avery Serochan was thrown out at the plate.


Miles added to the lead in the fourth inning with four runs, but the Norse got one back in the bottom of the fourth inning when Lexi Kacalo smoked a solo home run to center field. Bay added an unearned run to get to within 9-5, but the Pioneers scored eight runs in the top of the fifth inning to put the Norse behind by twelve runs, and on the brink of being mercied. Toplovich and Abby Johnson both had two-run hits during that inning for Miles, as they went up, 17-5.


But Bay didn't give up. The Norse scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth, with McKenna Bullen ripping a double down the left field line to plate two runs, and Sorochan coming through with a two-run triple down the right field line. That brought the Norse to within 17-11.


The Norse had their best chance in the bottom of the sixth to get even closer when Belanger led off with a double, and Bullen got a two-out single. But Sarah Wynn bounced into a fielder's choice grounder to end the threat, and the Norse could get only one unearned run in the seventh inning.


There were a total of 33 base hits in the game, with the Norse getting 17 and the Pioneers 16.


Belanger and Bullen both had four hits for the Norse, and Kacalo added three hits. Karlie Patron took the loss in the circle, allowing six runs on nine hits in five innings. Rachael Winkel allowed eight runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings, and Jamison Ness was charged with four runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning.


Elizabeth Ybarra, Toplovich, and Johnson all had three hits. Toplovich had four runs batted in and John had three RBI. Madilyn Henry pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on nine hits. She got a no-decision. Alex Carr got the win, despite allowing six runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings.


That loss dropped Bay into the loser's bracket against a familiar opponent: Dakota County Tech, the team the Norse beat in the sun-regional tournament in Escanaba a few days ago.


DCTC had lost to the host Dawson Community College team, 10-0.


Against Bay, DCTC took a 2-0 lead in the second inning as Jada Wolle touched up Patron for a two-run homer. Then there was a rain delay as several cloud bursts rolled through.


The Norse bats woke up with a six-run rally in the bottom of the second. Wynn tied things up with a two-run single, Sorochan singled home Wynn, and then Westwood's Ellie Miller launched a three-run homer to give the Norse a 6-2 lead.


Bay added four more runs in the third inning with Kacalo and Winkel both doubling home runs, and Miller doubled home two more runs, making it a 10-2 game and putting the Norse close to a mercy-rule win.


Not so fast. DCTC scored four runs in the fifth inning. Natalie Nausbaum singled in one run, and Olivia Weinberg doubled in two more runs to close the Blue Knights to within 10-5. An Emily Kuehl sacrifice fly cut the Bay lead to 10-6, but in the bottom of the inning, Winkel tripled and scored on a Sorochan ground out.


Nausbaum smoked a home run to center field to bring DCTC to within 11-7, but that was the only run Winkel gave up in the 2 2/3 innings she pitched in relief of Patron. Winkel earned the win, with Patron throwing 4 1/3 innings and getting a no-decision, allowing four runs on six hits.


That eliminated DCTC, as they finish the season with a 15-15 record.


In the late game, Miles City CC upset Dawson, 14-2. It was the first time that Dawson lost to Miles all season long. So the Norse (31-16) will face Dawson (30-9) in the elimination game Monday morning at 10:00 MT/12:00 noon ET.


That game will be broadcast on WCHT-FM/AM (93.5/600) in Escanaba, WMIQ-AM (1450 Iron Mountain) and on-line at www.rrnsports.com.

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