NEWPORT — The Erskine and Nokomis softball teams battled to the final out Monday on a cold, windy day that left players, spectators and officials in a permanent shiver.

“It was brutal,” Erskine coach Holly Tripp said.

The game, not so bad. Nokomis jumped out to a big lead, then held off a late Erskine rally to post an 11-10 victory that moved the Warriors (8-3) up a couple of notches in the Class B North standings.

“They’re going to have a lot of wins and worth a lot of points,” Nokomis coach J.D. McLellan said of Erskine (6-5). “We’ve got to get higher up in those standings; we don’t want to go to Presque Isle. Every win is important for us.”

Presque Isle (7-4) is ninth in Class B North Heal points and is amongst several teams vying to host at least one tournament game.

The Warriors came out swinging in the first inning, scoring five runs on five hits, including a pair of doubles and a two-run homer over the right-field fence from freshman Maci Leali. They totaled 14 hits in all, led by leadoff hitter Audrey Davis, who had three bunt singles and a triple. No. 2 batter Brittany Bubar added two doubles and a single.

The Warriors added four runs in the third inning to take a 9-1 lead, but on this day no lead was safe. Nokomis starter Libby Dunivan was working on a one-hitter when the Eagles struck for seven runs in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 9-8. Cold conditions were a factor.

“Your hands are cold,” Dunivan said. “It’s hard to grip the ball and get the spin you want on it.”

The bottom of the Erskine order — Harley Denning, Mackenzie Gayer, Faith Krause and Megan Dunn — opened the fifth inning with four straight hits. After a couple of walks and an error, the Eagles found themselves trailing just 9-8. Mallory Chamberlain nearly tied the game when she tried to score on a wild pitch but was called out on a close play with Dunivan taking the throw from catcher Chelsea Crockett.

“Mallory said she hit the girl’s foot so I didn’t argue it too hard,” Tripp said.

Bubar doubled and scored on Dunivan’s base hit in the bottom of the fifth and the Warriors added an important insurance run in the sixth when Davis tripled to the right-field corner and scored on a wild pitch.

“Our bats stayed alive, that’s what we needed to do,” McLellan said. “We knew this team was going to fight.”

The Eagles scored twice in the top of the seventh on a hit, a walk and an error. But Dunivan bore down to fan the final batter and end the game.


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