Thunder takes 2nd in tourney

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Pictured is the the Grand Rapids Thunder 14U fastpitch softball team which finished second in the USSSA Northern State Fastpitch Tournament July 10 and 11, in Cloquet. Team members include, in the front row, Shaley Pearson, Mercury Bischoff, Maggie MacLean, Kate Clairmont, Kaija Neary, and Anja Beck. In the back row are coach Heidi Clairmont, Mattelyn Seppi, Abby Skelly, Casey Cleveland, Liv Decoster, Alex Klous, and coach Andy Klous.

CLOQUET — The Grand Rapids Thunder 14U fastpitch softball team finished second in the USSSA Northern State Fastpitch Tournament July 10 and 11, in Cloquet. 

It was an exhausting eight games in two days. Saturday brought two pool play games. In the first game, the Thunder defeated a tough Bemidji Blue 7-1. The score was 0-0 until the fifth inning. The Thunder scored in the fifth on an error and then a triple by Mattelyn Seppi.

In the sixth, Bemidji scored one run on two base hits to tie the game but the bats for the Thunder finally came out, scoring six on singles by Maggie MacLean and Seppi and doubles by Shaley Pearson and Alex Klous. Kaija Neary pitched, giving up four hits and striking out two.

The next game the Thunder defeated Hermantown Blue 25-0. Winning pitcher was Alex Klous, giving up two hits and striking out four in three innings.

The Thunder scored 10 runs in the first inning on two hits by Neary, and one each by Pearson, Seppi (triple), Liv Decoster and Anja Beck.

They continued hitting scoring nine in the second on hits by Seppi (triple), Abby Skelly, Kate Clairmont, and Pearson. In the third inning, they scored six more runs, on hits by Mercury Bischoff, MacLean, Klous and Skelly. 

The bracket play started that evening, defeating Hermantown Yellow 14-0. The team had a combined total of 10 hits in the game: Home runs by MacLean, Clairmont, Seppi and Skelly, a triple by Casey Cleveland, a double by Pearson, and singles for Clairmont, Pearson, Klous and Cleveland led the way. Pearson was the winning pitcher, striking out seven and giving up two hits. 

Sunday morning was a tough loss against Cloquet 12-4. Klous and Neary gave up 12 runs on five hits. The Thunder scored four runs on hits by MacLean, Skelly and Seppi and two for Cleveland (double & single).

This put Grand Rapids into the loser’s bracket to play three games to get to the championship, all played back to back, defeating Bemidji Gray 8-5, Rampage 10-0 and Cloquet 8-7.

Leading the team for the win against Bemidji Gray was Maggie MacLean with a home run,  three singles for Cleveland, two for Klous and two for Clairmont. Pearson, Skelly, Seppi and Decoster also collected hits.

In the win over Rampage, hits for the Thunder were by Pearson (double), Klous (two singles), Skelly (double), Clairmont, and Seppi (triple and single). 

Revenge was sweet against Cloquet in seven innings of play, including two innings of international tie breaker, winning 8-7. Hits were collected by MacLean (home run and double), Cleveland (two singles and a double), Pearson (two triples), Skelly (two singles), Seppi (two singles), singles by Neary and Decoster. 

Pearson was the winning pitcher in all three games, giving up 12 runs on 15 hits and striking out 16. 

The championship was against the MN Blast, resulting in a loss of 6-3. Pearson had the start on her fourth game of the day, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out three in three innings. Neary pitched the last inning giving up two runs. Hits were collect by Cleveland and MacLean.


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