Senior Amanda Kishish was key for the ‘Jackets on Saturday, pitching 3.1 shutout innings and earning her first win. The ‘Jackets swept Crown in a Senior Day doubleheader.
Photo by Holden Law
It was a special day Saturday for the Yellowjacket softball team, as the program celebrated a trio of seniors on Senior Day 2021.
One member of the class, Kayla Behrman (Finlayson, Minn./Willow River Secondary), had her season ended prematurely by an injury. The other two – Olivia Bancroft-Hart (Cambria, Wis./Cambria-Friesland) and Amanda Kishish (St. Francis, Minn./St. Francis), would each play a pivotal role in the Yellowjackets getting back in the win column, and completing a sweep on the day.
Superior needed extra innings to fight off a pesky Crown team in the opener, before rallying late to take game two and sweep the Storm. The Yellowjackets (13-9, 6-4 UMAC) took the first game 5-4 in nine innings before winning the second contest 8-4.
With the wins, the Yellowjackets sit in a three-way tie for third place in the UMAC, setting up a crucial home series with Northland this afternoon.
The teams combined for nearly as many errors (10) as hits (11) in the first game of the set, needing extra time to decide a winner.
Crown opened the scoring with a single run in the top of the third, but the Yellowjackets answered in the bottom of the inning in an oddly unique way.
Kaileigh Miller (Superior, Wis./Superior Senior) led off the inning by laying a bunt down the third base line. The fielder picked the ball cleanly, but hurried the throw and threw wildly down the right field line. The ball rolled into the corner, allowing Miller to come all the way around to score and tie the game.
The Yellowjackets would move in front in the bottom of the fourth. Bryton Kukowski (Duluth, Minn./Hermantown) led off with a single, moved to second on a ground out and scored on an error to make it 2-1.
Crown quickly erased the lead, scoring twice in the fifth to lead 3-2. Once again, the Yellowjackets answered. In the bottom of the inning, Tayler Kraemer (Spring Green, Wis./Wisconsin Heights) hit a one-out single and went to second on an error. She moved to third on another error and scored on a sacrifice fly, tying the game.
The Storm regained the lead in the top of the sixth, but in the bottom of the inning Marley Burd (Glendale, Ariz./Centennial) tied it again, clearing the fence in right field for the Yellowjackets’ first home run of the season, making the score 4-4.
It stayed that way until the ninth. With two outs, Bancroft-Hart reached on an infield single and came all the way around to score when Tiffany Kirk (McHenry, Ill./McHenry East) drilled a double into the game in right center, making the final score 5-4.
Kraemer got the start in the circle, earning the win after allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out six. Her record improves to 8-5 with the complete game effort.
The teams tightened up the defense and the offenses came to life in the second game, and the Yellowjackets were forced to come from behind to gain the sweep.
Crown scored a single run in the second and added three more in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead, and in the process chase Yellowjacket starter Malania Madill (Canyon, Minn./South Ridge) after just 3.2 innings.
The ‘Jackets sent 11 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, scoring six times to erase the Crown lead. Burd started the inning with a single up the middle and Miller followed with a single to the exact same spot. Kaela Kraemer (Spring Green, Wis./Wisconsin Heights) doubled down the line in right, scoring pinch runner Erika Mattson (Ely, Minn./Ely Memorial) and putting two runners in scoring position. Miller scored on a fielder’s choice, and Bancroft-Hart followed with a walk to load the bases and force a pitching change.
Crown’s relief pitcher issued back-to-back walks to Kirk and Kukowski, and just like that the score was tied. Crown made another pitching change but it didn’t deter the Yellowjackets, who used a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice to score two more and take a 6-4 lead. The ‘Jackets plated two more in the bottom of the sixth on a Bancroft-Hart triple and a Krik single, bringing the lead to 8-4.
Kishish came on in relief of Madill and picked up her first win of the season in the circle. She pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while striking out two to move to 1-0 on the year.
The Yellowjackets will host Northland, one of the teams they’re tied with in the UMAC standings, in a doubleheader this afternoon. Opening pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. at the NBC Spartan