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Prep report: Zembo strikes out 13 in Spartans’ playoff win

Postseason play began for many Northland softball teams on Tuesday.

Superior pitcher Haley Zembo (20) and catcher Emma Raye (27) get high fives as they come off the field
Superior pitcher Haley Zembo (20) and catcher Emma Raye (27) get high fives as they come off the field in the sixth inning of the Spartans playoff victory over Wausau East at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Superior catcher Emma Raye saw an opportunity to end the game in their regional semifinal matchup against Wausau East Tuesday at the NBC Spartan Complex in Superior.

Lumberjack senior Maddy Krueger drifted a little too far off first base and Raye fired the ball down the first base line to Indigo Fish and picked off Krueger, giving the Spartans a 6-0 win.

The bat of Superior’s Indigo Fish (5) curves around the ball
The bat of Superior’s Indigo Fish (5) curves around the ball as she makes contact during the fifth inning of the Spartans playoff victory over Wausau East at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“I noticed she was more than 5 feet off base and that’s kind of my range and I just knew I could get her,” Raye said. “Of course she went off again, 5 feet and I was like ‘This is my chance.’ I threw it and she was out and it’s just a great feeling. My team is excited for me and Indigo is always there for me.”

Picher Haley Zembo allowed just one hit over seven innings and struck out 13 batters in the Spartans’ third straight shutout and third straight game playing error-free softball.

Superior’s Natalee Sigfrids (9) points to catcher Emma Raye (not pictured) after tagging out Wausau East’s Savannah Spees (22)
Superior’s Natalee Sigfrids (9) points to catcher Emma Raye (not pictured) after tagging out Wausau East’s Savannah Spees (22) at second base in the third inning of the Spartans playoff victory at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“Haley had a good day on the mound she had 13 strikeouts on only one hit, that was good,” Superior coach Mike Sather said. “On defense, there weren’t a whole lot of balls in play, but those were plays we had to make and we didn’t make any errors.”The Spartans struggled hitting Krueger the first time through the order, but the second time through they started to come alive.

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Superior’s Gabbi Saari (66) gives a double thumbs up to her dugout
Superior’s Gabbi Saari (66) gives a double thumbs up to her dugout from second base in the fourth inning of the Spartans playoff victory over Wausau East at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Raye hit her fifth home run of the year the year her second time up and the Spartans scored four runs in the bottom of the third to take command of the game.

“The second time through the lineup is when we started hitting the ball hard,” Sather said.

Superior (16-2) will play at New Richmond in the regional final at 5 p.m. Thursday. New Richmond topped River Falls 8-4 to advance.

The Tigers beat the Spartans 5-4 in their only meeting this season.

Superior’s Melania Luostari (33) slides safely into third base
Superior’s Melania Luostari (33) slides safely into third base in the third inning of the Spartans playoff victory over Wausau East at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Esko 15, Mesabi East 5

Esko racked up a dozen runs in the second inning to quickly ensure qualification for the second round of the Minnesota Section 7AA tournament.

Amber Carlblom finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Avery Kuklinski and Raegan Olson had two hits apiece.

Carlblom also pitched the first three innings, allowing an unearned run on and one hit while striking out four.

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Second-seeded Esko will play Mora Thursday at Braun Park in Cloquet in round two.

Adeline Butzke and Greta Levelwind had two-hit games for the Giants.

Moose Lake/Willow River 10, Cook County 0

Alexis Hoffman (four innings) and Sarah Christy (two innings) combined on a two-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts as the Rebels rolled into the second round of the 7AA tournament.

Natalie Mikrot was 3-for-3 with a double, triple and RBI, and Hallie Klavu was 2-for-4 with a triple.

MLWR will face South Ridge, a 6-1 winner over Chisholm, in a second-round game on Thursday in Grand Rapids.

Silver Bay 10, Mountain Iron-Buhl 7

Katie Carpenter homered and drove in five runs as the Mariners held for victory in the first round of the Section 7A tournament. Danika Thompson and Hope Ernest also had two-hit games, and both scored three times.

Thompson pitched 5 ⅓ scoreless innings and allowed two hits, while striking out six.

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Silver Bay plays North Woods Thursday in round two.

Northwood/Solon Springs 3, Shell Lake 0

Zoey Vaara tossed a five-hit shutout as Northwood/Solon Springs cleared the first hurdle in the WIAA Division 4 tournament.

Kyra Latvala was 2-for-3 and scored twice, with Maddelyn Swanson driving in both runs.

N/SS plays Thursday at top-seeded Phillips for the regional title.

BASEBALL

South Ridge 7, Duluth Marshall 6

Aydin Archambeault’s hit in the seventh inning gave the Panthers the go-ahead run at Wade Stadium.

Wyatt Olson had a double, triple and was the winning pitcher for South Ridge.

Esko 14, Cloquet 0

Finn Furcht led the way for Esko with a three-hit effort highlighted by a mammoth two-run blast over the left field fence in the fourth inning.

Furcht’s home run was one of four extra-base hits for the Eskomos, who previously recorded three doubles in their 14-0 win over Cook County earlier in the day.

The Eskomos’ success at the plate could be matched only by starting pitcher Cale Haugen's performance on the mound. The junior ace struck out 11 batters while giving up only a single walk en route to a no-hitter in five innings pitched.

Superior 6, Hibbing 3

Hayden Smith went 3-for-4 and stole three bases for the Spartans. George Hansen got the win in relief after pitching two scoreless innings.

TRACK AND FIELD

Esko, Two Harbors duel at Subsectional

Esko and Two Harbors girls athletes largely divided the top spoils amongst themselves in the Subsection 7A South meet at Esko, with either an Agate or an Eskomo winning all but two events.

Sophomore Gwendolyn Lilly swept the hurdle events for Esko, taking the 100 in 17.33 seconds and the 300 in 50.63. Freshman Kaitlyn McConnell also took a double, winning the 200 (26.73) and the long jump (15-6 ½).

Agate athletes won all the running events 400 meters and longer, while the schools split the four relays.

Esko finished with 203 points and Two Harbors 140.5.

The top seven athletes in individual events and top four relays advance to the section meet at the University of Minnesota Duluth on June 2.

On the boys side, Esko was even more dominant, winning by 101 points over Crosby-Ironton.

Mason Perich swept the 100 (10.94) and 200 (22.31), while thrower Wyatt Stankiewicz made a clear sweep of the shot put (47-1) and discus (127-5).

Duluth Marshall’s Jasper Timm jumped high and far, winning the high jump (6-2) and triple jump (40-11).

PREP SCOREBOARD
BASEBALL
Proctor 17, Crosby-Ironton 5
Northwood/Solon Springs 10, Luck/Frederic 0
Superior 6, Hibbing 3
Grand Rapids 11, Hermantown 1
Hermantown 13, Grand Rapids 12
Silver Bay 14, Wrenshall 4
Silver Bay 11, Mille Lacs 8
Esko 14, Cloquet 0
Esko 14, Cook County 0

BOYS LACROSSE
Irondale 17, Duluth 5

GIRLS LACROSSE
Grand Rapids/Greenway 13, Duluth 3

SOFTBALL
Section 7AA First Round
Eveleth-Gilbert 11, Pine City 1
Rush City 25, Two Harbors 1
Virginia 6, International Falls 5
Esko 15, Mesabi East 5
Greenway 11, Duluth Marshall 3
Section 7A First Round
Silver Bay 10, Mountain Iron-Buhl 7
Ely 5, Cromwell-Wright 4
South Ridge 6, Chisholm 1
Cherry 15, Littlefork-Big Falls 0
Barnum 25, Floodwood 4
Carlton/Wrenshall 10, Nashwauk-Keewatin 0
Moose Lake/Willow River 10, Cook County 0
WIAA Division 1 Regional
Superior 6, Wausau West 0
WIAA Division 3 Regional
Northwestern 15, Barron 0
WIAA Division 4 Regional
Northwood/Solon Springs 3, Shell Lake 0

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