Northland Sports Online

UWS Splits with Northwestern in Softball



SUPERIOR, Wis. – The Yellowjacket softball team, fresh off a 33-run, two-game sweep of North Central Tuesday, was back home Friday afternoon, hosting the University of Northwestern in conference action. The Yellowjackets and Eagles both entered the day 2-0 in UMAC play and part of a four-team logjam atop the conference standings.

When all was said and done Friday, the teams would still be tied in the standings, as they split Friday’s doubleheader. Northwestern never trailed on its way to a win in the opener, while the Yellowjackets (8-6, 3-1 UMAC) needed some late-inning heroics to take the nightcap and salvage the split.

Game One
Northwestern got a threat going right away in the opener, moving a runner into scoring position just two hitters in. She would come around to score, putting the Yellowjackets down 1-0 before their first at bat.

The Yellowjackets had an answer in the bottom of the inning. Olivia Bancroft-Hart (Cambria, Wis./Cambria-Friesland) got it started with a one-out single through the left side. She would come all the way around to score when Tiffany Kirk (McHenry, Ill./McHenry East) ripped a sharp double down the left field line to even the game.

Northwestern would move ahead again, scoring twice in the top of the third to lead 3-1. But once again, the Yellowjackets would have an answer.

Tayler Kraemer (Spring Green, Wis./Wisconsin Heights) hit a one-out single down the left field line, then stole second to move into scoring position. She would come around to score on an error to pull the Yellowjackets to within one.

Northwestern would put things out of reach in the fourth, scoring three times and then adding two more in the sixth to take an 8-2 lead.

The Yellowjackets would score their final run in the bottom of the seventh. Erika Mattson (Ely, Minn./Ely Memorial) led off with a double to center field and moved to third on an Amanda Kishish (St. Francis, Minn./St. Francis) sacrifice. Kaileigh Miller (Superior, Wis./Superior Senior) brought her home with an infield single, making the final score 8-3.

Miller and Kraemer had two hits apiece to lead the Yellowjackets, who finished with seven hits in the game.

Kraemer got the start in the circle and took the loss, falling to 4-4 on the year. She pitched 3.1 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits. She walked four and struck out one before giving way to Malania Madill (Canyon, Minn./South Ridge), who allowed two earned runs on four hits in 3.2 innings.

Game Two
In the second game Northwestern once again jumped out to the early lead, scoring twice in the top of the third inning.

The Yellowjackets answered in the bottom of the inning, however. Kirk was hit by a pitch and Kaela Kraemer (Spring Green, Wis./Wisconsin Heights) followed with a walk to put the tying run on base. Bryton Kukowski (Duluth, Minn./Hermantown) followed, lining the third pitch she saw to the fence in center field, scoring both Kirk and Kraemer to tie the game. An infield single and walk followed to load the bases, and Kishish drew a bases-loaded walk to score Kukowski and give the Yellowjackets their first lead of the day.

It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when Northwestern moved ahead once again, scoring twice to lead 4-3.

The Yellowjackets tied it up two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Kukowski led off with a single up the middle and was bunted over to second by Davrianna Horvath. An infield single moved her to third, and she would score the tying run on Kishish’s sacrifice fly, making it 4-4.

In the bottom of the seventh, with the score tied, Kukowski again got it started, driving a single through the right side. Horvath again got the job done on the sacrifice, dropping down a perfect bunt to get Kukowski into scoring position. Next up was Hailee Melgeorge (Superior, Wis./Superior Senior) and she put an end to the game, singling to right and scoring Kukowski with the game-winning run.

It was a big game at the plate for Kukowski, who went 3-for-4, scored three times and drove in two. Kirk and Melgeorge also had two hits for the Yellowjackets, who had nine in the game.

Kishish started in the circle and went the first three innings, allowing two runs on three hits. She walked three and struck out one. Tayler Kraemer (Spring Green, Wis./Wisconsin Heights) took over, going the final four innings to get the win and move her record to 5-4 on the year. She gave up two runs on six hits to go along with two walks and four strikeouts.

After a day off Saturday the Yellowjackets will be back home Sunday, when they host Northland in UMAC play. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

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