A routine grounder was anything but. The ensuing throw to first clinched more than an out. And the celebration that followed was for much more than one win.
“We had been in that section championship game, boy, I bet it was six, seven, eight times,” said Bemidji High School softball head coach Brad Takkunen. “We lost some close games. To finally do it was really gratifying.”
But on that sunny, blue-skied day in May 2018, there was no denying the Lumberjacks’ shared feeling of triumph in winning the first section title in program history.
Following a police escort out of town, Bemidji reached the state tournament in North Mankato the following week.
In the Class 3A quarterfinals, eventual state champion and top-seeded Faribault proved itself with an 8-0 win behind McKayla Armbruster’s 17-strikeout no-hitter -- at the Lumberjacks’ expense. Later that day, though, BHS kept the season alive with a six-run rally and Morgan’s walk-off home run shortly thereafter, defeating Rocori 10-8 in the consolation semifinals for the program’s first state tournament victory.
The season ended a day later with a 12-1 loss to Holy Angels in the consolation championship. But the history of that season remains alive and well.
The program needed 30 years to hang its first banner, but “2018” will now display in the rafters for a lot longer than that.