No. 1 ranked B-W downs Pepin/Alma softball 9-3Ali Murray’s solo homer in the fourth inning Saturday should have sparked her team, instead it ignited Baldwin-Woodville. The Blackhawks, the top-ranked team in Division 2 and last year’s state runners-up, followed Murray’s homer with five runs in the fifth inning and defeated the Eagles 9-3 in the championship game of the Pepin-Alma tournament.
By: Nick Gerhardt - Red Wing Republican-Eagle, Pierce County Herald
PEPIN – Ali Murray’s solo homer in the fourth inning Saturday should have sparked her team, instead it ignited Baldwin-Woodville.
The Blackhawks, the top-ranked team in Division 2 and last year’s state runners-up, followed Murray’s homer with five runs in the fifth inning and defeated the Eagles 9-3 in the championship game of the Pepin-Alma tournament.
Murray’s homer gave Pepin-Alma (5-1, 4-0 Dunn-St. Croix), ranked third in Division 4, a brief 1-0 lead, but there wasn’t much the Eagles could do to slow down a potent Baldwin-Woodville lineup.
“We go up 1-0 and everyone is thinking it’s going to be a low-scoring game,” Pepin-Alma head coach Matt Bellerive said. “(If) we got out on defense and shut them down, we might have won 2-0 or 1-0. That takes the wind out of it. They came in and did exactly what they wanted to do.”
The Blackhawks got rolling in their third and fourth plate appearances against Eagles starter Breanna Ellison. Baldwin-Woodville (7-0, 3-0 Middle Border) scored all nine of its runs in the fifth and sixth innings. After putting up five runs in the fifth, the Blackhawks came back for four more in the sixth and hit two home runs.
Heidi Hinz hit a two-run homer and Abby Klopp followed with a solo shot to make it 8-1. Klopp finished 3-for-4 with two RBI. Katie Thompson added an RBI double to make it 9-1.
Baldwin-Woodville pounded out 16 hits, 11 of which came in the fifth and sixth innings. Heather Bol, the Blackhawks’ No. 8 hitter had three hits, including two doubles.
“They got a good look at (Ellison) the second time around and they started getting the lumber on the ball,” Bellerive said.
Pepin-Alma faced a difficult matchup with Klopp, a standout pitcher, but Baldwin-Woodville’s offense overshadowed her performance despite being impressive.
“That pitcher is phenomenal but they’re not the No. 1 team in Division 2 in the state of Wisconsin just because of her,” Bellerive said.
Still, Klopp delivered a strong start. After throwing a perfect game against Wabasha-Kellogg in a 7-0 victory in the first game of the tournament, Klopp gave up three runs on three hits, struck out 13 and did not walk a hitter against the Eagles. The three runs Pepin-Alma scored equaled the most an opponent has scored against the Blackhawks this season and is the most a team has scored against them since Prescott scored four on May 10 last season.
Murray accounted for two of the runs. After her solo homer in the fourth, she followed that with another solo home run in the sixth on a first-pitch offering from Klopp. Murray finished 2-for-3 with two home runs and two RBI.
Ellison followed Murray’s second homer with a double, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on an error to make it 9-3.
“We’re not hanging our heads because we got beat by this team,” Bellerive said.
The Eagles advanced to the championship game after beating Turtle Lake/Clayton 9-0.
Senior Micky Dusek threw a no-hitter in her first start in two years. Dusek struck out three and walked one, which ended the bid for a perfect game.
Murray went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI in the win.