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SB: Yellowjackets clinch share of Mid-State Conference title

The Perham Yellowjacket softball team is pictured after their doubleheader sweep of Crosby-Ironton on Tuesday. The sweep ensures the Yellowjackets a share of the Mid-State Conference title. Submitted photo

Crosby-Before the 2015 softball season, the Perham Yellowjackets did not talk about winning the Mid-State Conference title. After Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep of Crosby-Ironton, they can start that discussion.

The Yellowjackets clinched a share of the title with 10-3 and 12-2 victories over the Rangers in Crosby, Minn. 

“I told the girls that they should be really proud,” Perham Head Coach Tyler Doll said. “Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids Area and Pequot Lakes are all really good teams, and to say that you are the champion of that conference is cool to say. I really want them to realize that is a pretty cool goal. When we talked about goals at the beginning of the year, we didn’t bring it up.”

At the beginning of the season, it was expected that the Lakers and the Patriots would be fighting for the crown. Both Perham and Pequot Lakes have two conference losses, with the Yellowjackets sweeping Pequot Lakes. The two losses to Perham are the only blemishes on a 17-2 overall record, and a 10-2 record in the Mid-State Conference for Pequot Lakes.

“It’s just awesome. Pequot Lakes has two losses, and they both came to us,” Doll said. “It’s a really good tip of the hat for the girls—that’s for sure.”

One of the main keys for the Yellowjackets is their ability to score runs, and score them in bunches. For the season, the Yellowjackets average 9.4 runs per game, and have scored in double digits in seven of their 10 conference wins.

“We have had some timely hitting, not too many two-out RBI’s, but when one person hits, the next girl will,” Doll said. “We have had a couple hits in a row, and a couple of walks—the timely hitting has been pretty good. We have been running the bases really well. We have to get more consistent where every inning we are trying to get someone on, and moving them over from there.”

Having depth on the mound has been paramount for the Yellowjackets. Mara Leslie went down with an injury, forcing senior Allie Doll to step on the mound. She won six of her nine starts, before Leslie returned to the mound on Tuesday. That depth is a key for the Yellowjackets during their post-season push.

Another aspect of moving Doll to the mound with the injury to Leslie was the maturation of sophomore Mattie Scheidecker.  

“I wasn’t too worried about the pitching, because Allie has pitched the last three years,” Tyler Doll said. “She has pitched a lot for us. It was shortstop where I was really concerned, and Mattie Scheidecker has done a great job. She made a couple of errors here and there, but she has been super consistent. She is really vocal as a sophomore, and it’s good to have a vocal leader out there. She has turned into a pretty good player for us.”

The Yellowjackets fell behind after the Rangers jumped ahead to a 3-1 first inning lead. 

However, the offense quickly responded with a four run second inning. The Yellowjackets put the finishing touches on the contest with a five-run fourth inning.

“We started slow, we were down 3-1 in that first game and we weren’t playing good softball. We have been playing lazy defense the last couple of games, but we kicked the rust off,” Doll said. “The bats came around a little, and we came away with two wins. We are ready for Saturday, and that’s going to be a good warm-up for the section tournament.”

Scheidecker drove in three runs in the first game, while Dani Nelson plated two runs. Alex Lubitz collected three hits, while Brittany Miller finished with two hits.

Allie Doll earned the complete game win in game one. She allowed three runs on six hits. She struck out five, while walking three batters.

The offense continued rolling in game two, putting up three crooked numbers on the Rangers on their way to a 12-2, five-inning victory.

The Yellowjackets scored five in the second, four in the third and three in the fourth.

The big shot for the Yellowjackets came in the second inning, when Alex Lubitz connected for a grand slam, giving Perham the 4-0 lead.  

Lubitz led the balanced offensive charge with four runs batted in. Annie Ingebrand drove home two runs, while Miller drove in three.

Ingebrand and Scheidecker recorded two hits each, while Miller had three. The Yellowjackets had 11 batters record hits in the game two win.

Leslie picked up the win on the hill. She allowed two runs on one hit. She struck out four while walking three.

The Yellowjackets improved to 10-2 in the Mid State Conference, and 12-5 overall. The Yellowjackets travel to Glyndon on Saturday to take on the Rebels at 11 a.m., and West Fargo at 1 p.m.

 

Game 1

PR1 4 0 5 0 0 0—10 10 1

CI 3 0 0 0 0 0 0—3 6 1

WP: Allie Doll

LP: Sarah Russell

HR: None

 

Game 2

PR 0 5 4 3 0—12 15 3

CI 0 1 1 0 0—2 1 2

WP: Mara Leslie

LP: Molly McCusker

HR: Alex Lubitz

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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