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Softball playoffs: Barnum reaches championship

Carlton, South Ridge end season with strong play

When the day began Tuesday in the Section 7A girls softball tournament, only Barnum and Cherry remained as undefeated squads.

The same two teams will be back to do battle for the section title on Friday, but with only one undefeated team left: Cherry.

Tuesday featured two elimination games: Carlton took on Silver Bay and South Ridge played MIB.

Carlton opened the day with an impressive win over Silver Bay, 5-2. The Mariners were the No. 3 seed and the Bulldogs were the No. 4 seed. Carlton smacked out 14 hits in the game with freshman pitcher Abby Mitchell picking up four of those hits with two singles, a double and a triple. Mitchell was equally good on the mound as she gave up just four hits in picking up the win.

“Abby is a warrior and proved it this season,” said Carlton coach Brent Pokornowski. Mitchell, along with Elizabeth Hey and Eliza DeCaigney, were selected to the all-conference team and will participate in the Polar League all-star game in Esko on June 21.

In the second elimination game South Ridge defeated MIB by an 8-2 score. Adella Olesiak continued to be strong on the pitching rubber and notched the win in the circle.

“Both Adella and Riley Young had two hits in the MIB game for us,” said Panther coach Brad Olesiak.

By virtue of winning, the Bulldogs and Panthers played each other for the second time this season. Back on May 6, the Panthers downed Carlton 7-0. On Tuesday, it was the Bulldogs coming through with a wild 13-11 victory.

The Carlton bats stayed hot against the Panthers as they rolled up 22 hits in the win.

“We left some runners on base early in the game,” Olesiak said. “We also had a few errors in that game and they made them hurt.”

Eliza DeCaigney had four hits against South Ridge and had a big day by going 9-for-12 at the dish.

Cherry punched its ticket to the section championship by beating Barnum 14-4. The game was 5-4 late, but Cherry had a big rally to pull away to the 10-run rule victory.

In the final game of the day Mendota Castonguay pitched the Bombers into the finals with a five-hitter against Carlton.

“Mendota pitched both games for us today, but we gave her a break when the first game got away from us,” Colello said. “Against Carlton she hit her spots and induced a lot of ground balls.”

Bomber bats came alive against Carlton as they smashed out 15 hits in the 12-2 win. Barnum blew the game open in the fifth inning when they plated seven runs and went from leading 2-1 to 9-1.

“Carlton has a good pitcher and we knew that she likes to get you to swing at high pitches, so we really focused on making her get it down,” said Barnum coach Dusty Colello. “Our first five hitters got hits to start the inning and break the game open.”

The victory put the Bombers into Thursday’s title match with Cherry.

“It means a lot to make it to the championship game,” Colello said. “These girls have put in a lot of time over the years and I am so happy for them.”

The Bombers will have their hands full as they will have to beat the Tigers twice. Cherry has defeated Barnum twice already this season: once in the regular season and again on Tuesday. The first game on Thursday is scheduled for 3 p.m. with a second game scheduled for 5 p.m. if needed. Both games will be played in Grand Rapids.

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