Denfeld News

May 29, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Hunters feel the pain
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 occurrence before.

“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 positions].”

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.

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