Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels girls down Duluth-Denfeld Hunters

 

Al Rose

Lauren Pederson had a two-run homer and a one-RBI single for three RBIs on Friday, April 28 in Willow River. Pederson's fifth homer tied her for first in the state for home runs.

The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels girls played a third and final new team on the schedule this season and downed the Duluth-Denfeld Hunters 13-8 in a game that featured 20 hits, including four doubles and four home runs, in Willow River on Friday, April 28. The Rebels improved to a record of 6-3, while Denfeld continues to hunt for wins.

Laura Walker pitched four innings and struck out one and walked three, while allowing three runs on seven hits. Lilli Skelton was credited with a save as she pitched three innings and struck out two and walked four, while allowing five runs on three hits.

Each team had 10 hits. MLWR had two home runs, one double and seven singles. Denfeld had two home runs, three doubles and five singles. The Hunters struck out three times while MLWR struck out four times. Each team walked seven times.

Stranded runners and errors were the two most readily apparent determining factors in the game. The Rebels stranded eight runners, including four in scoring position. The Hunters stranded nine runners, including six in scoring position. Errors definitely contributed to Denfeld's demise as they committed three miscues that all subsequently scored. The Rebels' one error did not end up netting the Hunters a run.

It was Jamie Benzie who scored all three of those runs. One was after a walk and an errant throw-down in the second inning. She also scored after getting hit-by-pitch and stealing the game's only base in the fifth inning and advancing on an error on a hard shot under the shortstop by seventh-grader Natalie Mikrot, who also scored. Benzie added one more score after reaching on an error in the sixth inning. The fast freshman also had a pair of nice reads to get quick jumps on deep drives to right center.

MLWR trailed only once in the game's early going. Denfeld put together a ground-rule double, a one-RBI single and a one-RBI double for a 2-0 edge in the top of the second inning.

The Rebels responded with a walk by Jamie Benzie, an errant throw-down, back-to-back walks and a stand-up three-RBI double by Dallis Kukuk for 3-2. Kukuk's effort stood up to be the game-winner as the Rebels never trailed again. A grounder by Ally Bode moved Kukuk to third. Lauren Pederson showed her strength and bat speed as she powered a two-run homer to the opposite field for 5-2. Additionally, Pederson's home run was her fifth this year to tie her for first in the state for round-trippers.

The Hunters were able to muster one run in the top of the third with a walk and a one-RBI double to draw to within two runs at 5-3. Denfeld took two consecutive walks and had the bases loaded, but stranded the runners.

The Rebels led 9-3 after four innings and were up 11-3 after five innings. The Hunters closed the gap to 11-6 in the top of the sixth inning. MLWR went up 13-6 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Denfeld was able get two runs in the top of the seventh for the final 13-8 tally.

Newly minted lead-off hitter Kukuk clearly showed she was primed for her key spot in the order as she went 3x5, including her three-RBI double. Kukuk added two singles. A fielder's choice became Kukuk's fourth RBI. Kukuk came in to score three times. Designated player and clean-up hitter Marissa Mikrot fulfilled her role very well as she went 2x2, including belting a three-run homer to the power alley. The steady senior added a one-RBI single for her fourth RBI. Pederson ended up going 2x5. Pederson added a one-RBI single to finish with three RBIs and she scored twice. Ally Bode had a single in the fifth inning, but she was stranded.

Junior Josie Benzie started the sixth with a single. Jamie Benzie reached on an error on a rap-back. Nicole Newham dropped in an opposite-field one-RBI single to score Josie Benzie. Jamie Benzie and Newham each alertly took an extra base as the Hunters failed to execute the cut-off. Jamie Benzie scored the Rebels' final run on Kukuk's fielder's choice RBI for 13-6.

Destiny Spaudling had a red hot bat for the Hunters and had five RBIs. Spaulding went a perfect 5x5, including a three-run homer in the sixth inning for 11-6 and a two-run homer in the seventh inning for 13-8.

With the make-up games now rescheduled, the Rebels are hoping to get all the games in. The girls will be very busy traveling with three road games in a row. MLWR is set to head to Two Harbors to take on a solid Agates team on Wednesday, May 3, with an early 4 p.m. start time. It's a short trip to play a strong Barnum Bombers team on Thursday, May 4. The Rebels play the Rails in Proctor on Friday, May 5. MLWR hosts the South Ridge Panthers on Tuesday, May 9, in Willow River. All of those games have 4:30 p.m. start times.

 

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