Bulldogs blank BombersAfter watching Brooke Camps’ hit sail over the left centerfield fence, Carlton’s Grace Macor elevated her teammate to royal status.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
After watching Brooke Camps’ hit sail over the left centerfield fence, Carlton’s Grace Macor elevated her teammate to royal status.
“She’s kind of our home run queen,” Macor said following the third-inning solo shot that kick-started the Bulldogs to a 9-0 shutout win over Polar League rival Barnum Tuesday evening at Chub Lake Park.
Camps’ round-tripper was her second of the young season, as the junior leadoff hitter also slugged one against Moose Lake-Willow River last week. Her pair of four-baggers is the Bulldogs’ only this spring.
“Once [Brooke] hit it, we couldn’t be stopped,” Macor said, noting Camps’ bomb broke a scoreless tie and paved the way to eight more runs after they mobbed her with screams of joy at home plate. “She’s a good player who loves the game. I’m just glad she’s only a junior.”
Macor, a 5-foot-11 freshman hurler, said her fastball and changeup were working Tuesday; yet, it was the right-hander’s drastic drop ball that was most effective against the Bombers.
“I got them on some drops,” said Macor, admitting it was her favorite pitch after learning how to play the pivotal position three years ago as a sixth-grader. “My drop has always just worked for me best.”
Macor was taught how to pitch by former Carlton coach Brooke Lee. Her father, Pat, also works with her in the wintertime around attending clinics and camps in the area.
Current Bulldogs Coach Denny Johnson said that Tuesday’s blanking of the Bombers was the third win of the season for Macor in the circle, as she threw the entire seven-inning affair, struck out 10 and walked only one. He was quick to note, however, that the victory was a collective one on the diamond.
“Brooke poked that homer ... that brought our bats alive,” Johnson said Wednesday, “but it was definitely a team effort all the way around. We played well and we played error-free softball.”
“I think it was a confidence-builder for us,” Macor said about their win. “In the games we’ve lost this year, we could have definitely played better. But yesterday was a nice game for all of us.”
Miscues haunted the Bulldogs (5-2) in a pair of losses against Polar League foes Silver Bay and Two Harbors earlier this spring. Johnson said his girls were effective Tuesday in their third consecutive win, adding to ones over ML-WR last Thursday and Chisholm Monday.
“There are some good teams around here and you can never let your guard down,” said Johnson. “I think the girls proved to themselves last night that when you limit mistakes, you’ll get wins. And we did that.”
On the flipside, Barnum didn’t.
Bombers Coach Sarah Yrjanson admitted Carlton was strong, but a handful of fielding errors was the difference in the final outcome.
“Carlton moved around the bases when we made errors,” she said. “We hung in there, but it was frustrating at times. It shouldn’t have been a 9-0 game.”
The loss followed back-to-back wins for Barnum (2-2) against Hinckley-Finlayson last Friday and Floodwood Monday. Sophomore Lauren Hultgren was the losing pitcher, while senior leadoff hitter and catcher Karianna Duesler led the Bombers at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a double.
Yrjanson said although the defeat stung, her girls remained optimistic.
“I always go talk to them out by second base following a game and afterward they were already talking about what they need to work on to improve,” she said. “I really appreciate how passionate these girls are as athletes. They just have to learn from their mistakes; that’s all it comes down to, because tomorrow is a new day and there’s going to be a new game.”
Nonetheless, it was Yrjanson who couldn’t forget about Camps’ game-changing efforts on Tuesday.
“Carlton is solid and she’s a good little player, there’s no doubt about that,” she said of Camps, who finished perfect at the plate with four runs batted in, two runs scored and a double to go along with her fence-clearing crack. “Honestly, it was fun watching her play.”