No. 25 Bruins Top Warriors in Softball, as the Warriors Clinch a Playoff Berth

Bellevue University completed a four-game series sweep, topping the Waldorf University softball team during Saturday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) doubleheader.

The Bruins (45-12, 20-6), who are ranked No. 25 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll, picked up a 7-2 victory in the opener and pulled away for a 9-0 win in five innings during the nightcap.

With the sweep, Bellevue clinched the NSAA regular-season championship.

Taylor Navratil led the Warriors (15-27, 7-19) as the freshman from Plymouth went 2-for-3 in the opener. Seniors Trista Bures, Mattea Lovato and junior Hattie Hupke added singles for Waldorf, which was held to five hits.

Maddie Siedlik helped set the tone for the Bruins, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Kaitlyn Kinman finished 2-for-4, connecting for a double and a run-scoring single. Sayde Woten also provided two hits, including a double. Erin Sharpe went deep with a two-run home run and Emily Gigax contributed an RBI double to Bellevue’s 11-hit performance.

Kelli Fisher (27-4) notched the complete-game win for the Bruins, striking out two batters and yielding two unearned runs while scattering five hits in seven innings.

Waldorf junior Kaylie Brindley (9-13) was tagged with the loss. She fanned three, issued one walk and allowed four runs on six hits in four innings of work.

Junior McKenna Marcinkowski pitched the final three innings for the Warriors. She struck out one, walked three and gave up three runs on five hits.

Sharpe put Bellevue on the board, drilling a two-run shot with two outs during the top of the first inning.

Siedlik smacked a two-run double in the third, pushing the Bruins to a 4-0 lead.

With two outs in the fifth, Siedlik stroked an RBI single and Gigax followed with an RBI double as Bellevue built a six-run advantage.

Waldorf senior Brittani Sanchez turned in an RBI groundout in the fifth and Navratil later scored on a fielding error, trimming the Bruins’ lead to 6-2.

Kinman drove in Bellevue’s final run with a sixth-inning single.

The Bruins denied the Warriors down the stretch, allowing just one base runner two reach on an error during the final two innings.

Sharpe (10-1) tossed a no-hitter to score the complete-game shutout win in Game 2. She tallied four strikeouts in five innings.

Michaela Miller led Bellevue, going 3-for-3 with an RBI double. Sharpe helped her cause at the plate, hitting 2-for-2 with a solo homer and two RBIs. Siedlik delivered a 2-for-4 performance, blasting a two-run homer. Hannah Carter legged out a triple and the Bruins cranked out 11 hits.

Waldorf junior Briley Sullivan (5-9) was handed the loss. She recorded one strikeout, issued a walk and surrendered seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in three innings. Marcinkowski relived the final two innings and gave up two walks and two unearned runs on three hits.

Bellevue was in business in the first following a leadoff triple from Carter, who later scored on a wild pitch. Sharpe delivered a solo shot, marking her fifth homer of the weekend series.

The Bruins plated five runs in the third as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Sharpe laced an RBI single, Siedlik left the yard with a two-run blast, Michaela Miller produced an RBI double and Emily Miller later scored on a passed ball.

Gigax belted an RBI single during the fourth. Kinman knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice in the fifth.

Sharpe retired the side in order during the fifth to secure the no-hitter and bring the game to an end on account of the eight-run mercy rule.

Only three Warrior base runners got aboard against Sharpe with one batter being hit by a pitch while two others reached on errors.

Prior to the doubleheader, Waldorf held its Senior Day ceremony to honor Sara Brooks, Ashton Dennis, Hailey Kofron, Lovato, Bures, Sanchez and Sullivan for their contributions to the program during the course of their careers.

The twin bill concluded the regular season for the Warriors. Waldorf has clinched a postseason berth in the NSAA Tournament and now awaits its first-round opponent in the five-day, double-elimination tournament that begins on Friday at Dickinson, N.D.

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