Bulldogs back in finals against Cherry (again)The Bulldogs play at 4 p.m. today (Thursday, May 31) in Cohasset against Cherry. They have to win twice against Cherry to advance to state.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Like most softball players, Brooke Camps doesn’t wear a ball cap when she takes to the diamond. Rather, the Carlton second baseman keeps her long blonde hair tucked back with a ponytail.
A “rally” ponytail.
With their season on the line against Silver Bay, Camps said she and her teammates rallied late to earn a 12-4 comeback win over the Mariners Tuesday evening in the Section 7A Final Four at Portage Park in Cohasset. Camps credited her teammates for the surge.
“The last couple innings we all just clicked,” said Camps, a junior, noting their season-
saving comeback started in the fifth inning. “I think we scored 10 runs or something like that. Everyone was on.”
The Bulldogs will need that same execution if they want to shock Class A’s top-ranked Cherry for the section championship Thursday at 4 p.m. in Cohasset. The Tigers have won all 22 of their games this spring, including a 4-1 victory over the Bulldogs earlier Tuesday, when Cherry was then sent to the winner’s bracket and Carlton to the loser’s side of the double elimination tournament.
Carlton Coach Denny Johnson said a handful of miscues cost his Bulldogs (16-5) against the section’s two-time defending champions.
“I think we had three errors and you can’t do that against a team like Cherry,” Johnson said. “We’ll just have to clean it up. I know these girls can play with Cherry. They’re not afraid of going into battle again.”
The Bulldogs clashed with the Tigers for last year’s section crown in a game that was Carlton’s first championship appearance in school history. In the same position this year, Carlton first baseman Megan Nelson said they aren’t nervous for the rematch. Rather, they are confident.
“We know we can play with them,” said Nelson, a senior. “They play smart and can hit, but we just have to try our hardest, hope for the best and be 100 percent in it. Anything can happen.”
Much like Carlton’s playoff map thus far. After surviving an eight-inning first round scare from Floodwood, the fourth-seeded Bulldogs upset top-ranked Littlefork-Big Falls last Friday before topping South Ridge and Silver Bay Tuesday to avenge earlier season losses to both.
Recovering to beat Floodwood, eighth-grade catcher Hannah Benson knocked in Nelson before a dog pile. Against LF-BF, Benson smacked a three-run homer, while freshman pitcher Grace Macor fanned 14 Vikings. Macor earned both victories Tuesday as well, but Johnson explained it took a full team effort to keep their year alive.
“The girls are playing well and are very deserving of everything they have earned so far,” he said. “They are competitive kids that have bought into things and remained focused.”
Among the middle of their heavy-hitting lineup, Nelson said beating the Tigers twice on Thursday is a tall, but doable task.
“We know we can play with people,” she said. “Cherry is a good team; it’ll be tough, but we just have to play D and get our bats going.”
And tie-up their ponytails. At least their leadoff hitter will.
“[Cherry] likes to play sneaky games with us, get us on our toes and get into our heads,” Camps said. “We just have to play an entire game and remain focused. This year we’re going to beat them.”