College softball: Kraemer sisters lead Wisconsin-Superior to UMAC championship

Younger sister Tayler picks up three wins Saturday, finishing the tournament 5-1 with a 1.25 ERA over 44.2 innings pitched.

Wisconsin-Superior players celebrate after pitcher Tayler Kraemer snares a line drive to end the game and win the UMAC Championship softball tournament on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Kenwood Field in Duluth. (Kim Kosmatka / For the Superior Telegram)

Wisconsin-Superior started Saturday by finishing off a come-from-behind, extra-innings victory in an elimination game that was suspended on Friday evening due to darkness.

The fifth-seeded Yellowjackets capped Saturday by celebrating a UMAC postseason title and automatic berth to the NCAA Division III tournament after beating second-seeded Northwestern 5-2 and 4-0 at Kenwood Field in Duluth.

It’s the Yellowjackets' (22-14) fourth postseason conference title and second in the UMAC, after winning in 2016. UW-Superior, which won WIAC titles in 2002 and 2004, will learn Monday who it plays and where in the NCAA tournament.

Wisconsin-Superior's Olivia Bancroft-Hart scores on a groundout after tripling to right-center, giving the Yellowjackets a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning of the second championship game in the UMAC softball tournament on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Kenwood Field in Duluth. (Kim Kosmatka / For the Superior Telegram)


Having lost to the Eagles on Friday 2-1 in nine innings in the semifinals to fall into the elimination bracket, the Yellowjackets needed to beat Northwestern twice on Saturday. They did so via the arm of freshman right-handed pitcher Tayler Kraemer.

After retiring six of the seven batters she faced in the eighth and ninth innings to beat Bethany Lutheran 6-4 in the elimination game that carried over from Friday , Kraemer gave up two runs — one earned — off three hits with one walk and four strikeouts in seven innings to beat the Eagles in Game 1 . Kraemer returned for the winner-take-all Game 2 , picking up the complete-game shutout by giving up five hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

The tournament’s most valuable player after posting a 1.25 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched this week, Kraemer was just as effective at the plate as she was in the circle. She went 3-for-4 in the opener against Northwestern with an RBI double in the sixth inning — one of two doubles she had in the game. In the final, she was 2-for-4 with another double, while scoring twice.

Wisconsin-Superior pitcher Tayler Kraemer embraces catcher Davriana Horvath after the victory in Saturday’s second UMAC softball tournament championship game at Kenwood Field in Duluth on May 15, 2021. (Kim Kosmatka / For the Superior Telegram)

Kraemer finished the elimination game against Bethany Lutheran 2-for-4 with an RBI, driving home her older sister, Kaela, in the top of the ninth inning for the two-run lead. It was Kaela Kraemer, a sophomore shortstop, who drove in the winning run against Bethany Lutheran via a one-out RBI triple to right center. Tayler finished 2-for-4 against Bethany while Kaela went 3-for-5.

The Kraemer sisters from Spring Green, Wisconsin, lead off the batting order for the Yellowjackets with Kaela hitting lead off and Tayler second.

Junior outfielder Olivia Bancroft-Hart batted third on Saturday, and from there sparked the scoring for Superior in the 4-0 win over Northwestern to clinch an NCAA tournament spot. Bancroft-Hart stole second base in the third inning, which led to Tayler Kraemer coming home on a throwing error for a 1-0 lead. Bancroft-Hart later drove home Tayler Kraemer via an RBI triple as part of a three-run fifth-inning.


Wisconsin-Superior head coach Melissa Fracker tells her team to hold on to the lead as they head out to the field at the bottom of the 7th inning of the second championship game of the UMAC softball tournament on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Kenwood Field in Duluth. (Kim Kosmatka / For the Superior Telegram)

Sophomore second baseman Tiffany Kirk finished 2-for-4 at the plate in the 5-2 win over Northwestern with an RBI, stolen base and run scored. She opened the suspended game against Bethany Lutheran at 10 a.m. on Saturday with a double but was stranded at third in the eighth. Kirk was walked three times by Bethany, including a final time in the ninth.

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