Silver Bay junior Jessie Ketola fielded a pop fly in the top of the seventh to secure the third out and a 6-5 Mariner upset win over Esko, one of the top ranked Class AA schools in Minnesota, on Thursday, May 10. The win was the biggest of the season for Silver Bay and is one of just two losses for the Eskomos all season.
"I thought that it was the longest ball that's ever taken to get to me," Ketola said. "I was just praying that I'd catch that ball and I watched it go into me glove and it felt amazing."
Ketola had a big day at the plate, too, hitting a 2 RBI ground rule double in the third inning and another double in the bottom of the sixth inning, driving home Cora Carter in what proved to be the difference in the game.
Silver Bay jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third inning on the strength of RBIs from Ketola and Carter, but in the top of the fourth, Esko's Dea DeLeon scored on a throwing error and then Emilee Wilson drove in two more runs on her own ground rule double.
The game looked to be getting away from the Mariners with three runs already in, the bases loaded and no one out, but senior center fielder Jocelyn Russell was able to track down and make a shoestring catch in right centerfield on a well hit ball by Esko's Ashley Pollema. Even better for the Mariners, the catch caught Esko runners off guard and Russell made the long throw to Callie Klemmer at first base to turn the great catch into a double play.
"That was a game saver," Coach Mike Guzzo said. "The game was about to get away from us there and (Jocelyn) makes the double play. If not for that, it could be two more in and instead being down 4-3 we're down 6-3. That was huge."
Silver Bay got out of the fourth inning without any more damage and struck back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Carter got a two out, two RBI hit to give the Mariners the lead and Ketola's final hit of the day drove Carter home in the next at bat.
Carter also recorded the win in relief of Everly Bauck, allowing two hits over two innings with a strike out and one run scored.
Silver Bay (13-4) is one of the hottest teams in Section 7A, winning eight of their last nine. The Mariners will travel to Ely for their regular season finale at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 18.
Silver Bay will probably be seeded second for the Section 7A tournament behind Carlton. The Bulldogs are the only Class A team to beat the Mariners this season, a 6-5 loss where Silver Bay left 16 runners on base.