Jackets pound Bengals in playoff opener
Cambridge-Isanti got off to a great start in the Section 7AAA playoffs by hammering host Blaine 12-4 in the May 22 opening round, fueled by big bats and a tight defense.
The No. 9 seed Bluejackets (9-11) will need to stay in attack mode for their May 24 quarterfinal matchup with top-seed Forest Lake (19-1) who is ranked 2nd in Class AAA. The winner of that game enters the double-elimination format May 30 at Forest Lake.
More 7AAA quarterfinals will be No. 4 Duluth East vs. No. 5 Anoka (5-0 over Princeton May 22), No. 2 Duluth Denfeld vs. No. 10 North Branch (5-0 over Grand Rapids) and No. 3 St. Francis vs. No. 11 Chisago Lakes (6-4 over Andover).
At Blaine on the hot & windy Tuesday, the C-I girls got on the board in the first with a two-out rally when Katie McCann walked and Taylor Bowker singled. Amanda Hanson then pulled a 3-run homer to left-center. Blaine countered with two runs off starter Kate Hammero in the bottom of the inning.
The Bluejackets broke it open in the third with six runs. Erica Epsen led off with a single, then consecutive walks were coaxed by McCann, Bowker and Hanson (BI). Off the Bengal reliever, Kendall Sandberg and Hannah Thiry (2BI) knocked home runs to forge a 9-2 edge.
Jess Golden relieved an injured Hammero in the third and held Blaine to one run over her three innings. In the fourth, Bowker stole a run by forcing an error at third base. The Jackets made it 12-3 in the fifth when Josie Potrament doubled and Epsen followed with a 2-run homer pulled down the left-field line.
• On May 16, C-I defeated St. Michael-Albertville 9-4 with 5 runs in the ninth on hits by Thiry, McCann, Bowker and Hanson. Ronni Risch got the win with 3 relief innings.
Becker solidified its Mississippi 8 championship by sweeping the Jackets 6-4 and 7-6 May 17.
C-I closed the regular season with a 13-3 home win over Princeton May 18. Bowker and McCann had 2BI singles to fuel the offense, and Hammero pitched six strong innings. In Game 2, C-I led 8-2 in the fourth when the game was called due to lightening.
Mississippi 8 Softball FINAL: Becker 9-3, 13-6; Big Lake 8-4, 10-6; Rogers 6-6, 11-9; Buffalo 6-6, 8-10; St. Michael-Alb. 5-7, 9-11; Cambridge-Isanti 4-8, 9-11; Monticello 4-8, 9-9.