After allowing Hibbing to tie the game in the top of the seventh, Cloquet's Josie Steen hit an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to give the Lumberjacks a 3-2 win in the opening round of the Section 7AAA tournament Thursday, May 23, at Braun Park.
Cloquet junior pitcher Lucy Sinkkonen was sharp throughout the day, allowing just four hits and striking out eight. The only runs Hibbing scored were on Jacie Clusiau's two-RBI double in the top of the seventh. Klusiau reached third on a throwing error, but Sinkkonen responded by striking out the next batter and ending the threat.
"(Lucy) pitched great today," coach Ron Tondryk said. "She moved the ball up and down and in and out and she pitched well. It's just unfortunate she had a couple at the wrong time, but we didn't help her offensively today either."
Lumberjack senior Kiana Bender hit an RBI triple in the first inning and Cloquet looked to add more, but Bender was called out for failing to tag up on a sacrifice fly by Olivia Diver.
Bender had the defensive play of the game, however, in the fourth inning. With a runner on third base with just one out, the shortstop caught a line drive and was able to throw out Maddy Clusiau before she could get back to base and end the inning.
"That was the defensive play of the game up to that point," Tondryk said. "Kiana was solid at shortstop today. She made the routine plays, she made the great plays and she got us going offensively, too."
Cloquet will play North Branch at 10 a.m Saturday, May 25, in the second round of the section tournament in Cloquet.
North Branch beat Duluth Denfeld 10-0 in six innings to advance.
Cloquet 3, Hibbing 2
At Cloquet. WP: Lucy Sinkkonen 2R, 4H, 8K. LP: Ayva Terzich 3R, 8H. C: Kiana Bender 1x3 (3B), RBI; Josie Steen 1x1, GW RBI. H: Jacie Clusiau 1x3 (2B) 2RBI.