May 29, 2008
Hunters feel the
By Rick Weegman
ST. FRANCIS, Minn. — Sometimes you know
it’s just not going to be your day.
Duluth Denfeld junior Laura Bellamy may have had
that feeling when she woke up early Wednesday to a phone call from
softball teammate Jena Dieryck, who relayed bad news that shortstop
Brittany Yagoda was in the hospital and wouldn’t accompany
the team on its trip to St. Francis High School for the Section
7AA final four tournament.
Yagoda, one of two starting seniors for the Hunters,
had awakened at 3:30 a.m. to excruciating pain in her elbow. Two
doses of morphine and two Lortabs (a form of painkiller) later and
Yagoda still couldn’t function.
Her absence was telling in a 1-0 loss to Forest
Lake, in which the Hunters stranded five runners in the first three
innings. A subsequent 10-0, five-inning loss to Chisago Lakes ended
the Hunters’ season one contest shy of the school’s
first section championship game appearance since 1990.
“I woke up at 3:30 and my arm was in shooting
pain,” Yagoda said from home later Wednesday. “I tried
to stretch out but that only made the pain worse.”
She went to the emergency room at St. Mary’s
hospital, where she underwent X-rays and an ultrasound to help determine
the problem. Her father, Michael, said doctors believed the source
of the pain was an irritation of the rotator cuff.
“What’s the chances of that happening
on game day and at 3 in the morning?” Michael said.
His daughter said she’s never had a similar
“It just came out of nowhere,” Brittany
said. “When [doctors] said I wouldn’t be able to go,
I was bummed out.”
So were her teammates.
“That was quite the phone call when Jena
[Dieryck] called me and said Brit wasn’t going to be here,”
Bellamy said. “We were hoping it would add to our Cinderella
story, but it’s pretty tough to move everyone around [in new
Denfeld (12-9) loaded the bases in the first inning
on two hits and a walk against Forest Lake, but couldn’t score
against pitcher Alyssa Dunrud. Three batters reached base in the
third, but again Dunrud shut the door.
Bellamy kept the game scoreless, throwing a six-hitter
with seven strikeouts, putting the Hunters in position to win their
third straight extra-inning game. But with one out in the bottom
of the seventh, Kelsey Taylor singled and Kelly Kent reached on
a fielding miscue. Sam Holien’s drive up the middle scored
courtesy runner Ashleigh Matheson with the game’s lone run.
“We almost wanted to go to extras because
we’ve been pretty successful lately, but Forest Lake is a
good team and it’s quite an accomplishment to take them to
seven innings,” Bellamy said. “It took a little wind
out of our sails to have to play again right away.”
That was evident as Chisago Lakes (17-9), which
pounded Anoka 11-0 in five innings earlier in the day, jumped on
Denfeld right away. The Wildcats scored three runs in each of the
third, fourth and fifth innings and totaled 11 hits. Shortstop Ariel
Novak was 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBIs to lead the way,
but the Wildcats had help from all spots in the order.
“The top of the order usually hits well
for us,” said Chisago Lakes coach Herb Jangor, whose team
avenged a 4-1, eight-inning loss to Denfeld on Saturday. “Coming
into today we said that the bottom of our order had to get a few
hits, and they did.”
The Wildcats also showed an advantage in quickness,
stealing four bases and throwing out two Denfeld runners.
“Good teams are going to show where you’re
weak, and we lack team speed and quickness,” Denfeld coach
Dick Swanson said.
Still, the Hunters showed a lot of heart after
starting the season 1-5. They likely will contend next season after
losing just two starters — Yagoda and Dieryck — to graduation.
But they wanted both in the lineup Wednesday.
* Chisago Lakes forced a second championship game
with a 2-1 win over Forest Lake. Senior shortstop Ariel Novak was
2-for-2 with a two-run homer in the sixth inning to break a scoreless
tie. Cheree Franklin hit a solo homer in the seventh for the Rangers.
The teams meet again at 4 p.m. today in St. Francis.
Denfeld ............. 000 000
0 — 0 6 1
Forest Lake ....... 000 000 1 — 1 6 0
WP: Alyssa Dunrud 7IP, 6H, 0R, 9K, 1BB. LP: Laura Bellamy 6.1IP,
6H, 1R, 7K, 2BB. FL: Sam Holien 2H (2B), GW single drove in courtesy
runner Ashleigh Matheson with one out in 7th; DD: Allison Severson
2x3; Bellamy 2x3.
Denfeld ............. 000 00
— 0 2 3
Chisago Lakes ... 103 33 — 10 11 1
WP: Rachel Nelson 5IP, 2H, 0R, 5K, 0BB. CL: Ariel Novak 3x3 (2B,
3B), 3R, 3RBIs Amanda Houle 2x4, 2R; Tia Pearl 2R; Lisa Schommer
2R; Ashley Oehme 2B, 2RBIs; Mallory Schneider 2x3.