Silver Bay senior Jessie Ketola hit three home runs in the last four games of the Section 7A tournament, but the Mariners' season came to an end with a 5-3 loss to Cherry on Tuesday, May 28, in Cloquet.
Ketola had a home run in the first three games of the double elimination portion of the tournament, leading the Mariners to wins over Nashwauk-Keewatin and Barnum, but falling twice to Cherry. In the elimination game against Cherry, Ketola was still 2x4 with two RBIs.
Ketola belted the first of the two home runs in the Mariners' 12-3 loss to Cherry in the opening round of the tournament. In the days next game, she hit another in a 5-3 win over Nashwauk Keewatin and the third in a 10-7 win over Barnum.
In the win over Barnum, eighth-grade pitcher Danika Thompson struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure the win for Silver Bay. The young Mariner hurler allowed six hits and struck out five in the game.
Thompson allowed just five hits and struck out three in the final game against Cherry, but Silver Bay batters couldn't generate enough offense to carry the team. In addition to Ketola, senior Callie Klemmer went 3-for-4 in her final game in a Mariner uniform.
Despite four seniors, Silver Bay was largely a very young team this season. When Thompson was pitching, the infield consisted of two eighth-graders, two freshmen and one senior.
Coach Mike Guzzo was pleased with the development of his young players, which also included freshman Livia Hoff in centerfield, and the promise they showed for the Mariner program for years to come.
He also credited the leadership of Ketola and Klemmer in developing the young team and leading them to three Section 7A tournament wins - including a 13-3 first-round win over Cook County.
"I think both Ketola and Klemmer deserve a lot of credit for the team's success," Guzzo said. "Moving to Ketola to catcher to work with Danica was huge and she had a great season and led defensively as the catcher. Moving Callie to shortstop late in the year was big and her bat was pretty hot this year. Those two really gave good leadership to the team and they carried us a long way in the playoffs - farther than most people thought we'd go by far."
Cherry 5, Silver Bay 3
WP: Lauren Staples 7IP, 3R, 10K, 2BB. LP: Thompson 5R, 5H; 3K, 4BB. SB: Callie Klemmer 3x4; Jessie Ketola 2x4, 2RBI; Hope Ernest 1x2.