UPDATED: Host Lakers slug their way to tournament titlePepin scored 26 runs and clubbed 29 hits in two games to win its own tournament Saturday. The Lakers beat Durand 10-4 in the first game and then they defeated River Falls 16-8 in the championship game.
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle
Pepin scored 26 runs and clubbed 29 hits in two games to win its own tournament Saturday. The Lakers beat Durand 10-4 in the first game and then they defeated River Falls 16-8 in the championship game.
“Our sticks, again today, were the story,” Pepin coach Matt Bellerive said.
Tasha Heit, a junior, led the way by hitting the first two home runs of her career. She went 6-for-9 on the day, collecting three hits and a homer in each game, and driving in six runs.
Sophomore Ali Murray also recorded three hits in each game, including a double and a triple in the opener. Classmate Kayla Meixner collected two hits in both games.
“Once someone gets a really good hit we all get excited about it and then we want to get that same hit,” sophomore Breanna Ellison said. “It’s like a chain reaction.”
Ellison earned the victory in both games. She came on in relief against Durand and allowed one earned run over the final 3 2/3 innings. Ellison pitched all seven against River Falls.
Ellsworth finished third at the tournament thanks to the heroics of Halle Hatch. The junior pitcher hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh that lifted Ellsworth to a 13-11 victory over Durand.
She also worked out of one-out, base-loaded jams in the bottom of the fifth and sixth. Durand needed to score just one run in either inning to win because the game had reached the time limit, but Hatch and her defense didn't let that happen.
"We work well under pressure," senior catcher Becca Chollett said. "Everyone was zoned in on what we had to do."
Hatch said Ellsworth handled the duress well because the Panthers prepare for it in practice.
"We have this drill where we have to lay the bunts down, we have to get slaps down, we have to get hits down or else the rest of the team runs," said Hatch, a junior. "And that pressure is on the batter. They're responsible if our team runs."
Ellsworth lost its first game 11-6 to River Falls.
Pick up Wednesday's paper to read more about Pepin.