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Silver Bay Softball: Polar League Single-A Champions Enter Playoffs

It was the eve of what Coach Mike Guzzo hoped would be a tri­ple-header in Cloquet for this season’s play­offs when we spoke over the phone. By the time this story hits the press, those games will have been played on May 28th, with the championship to fol­low on Thursday, May 30th.

The coach admitted that the competition is tight this season. “All the teams are really good in our section,” Coach Guzzo said. “Our teams are pretty even.”

That said, the chanc­es are great for Silver Bay. They are the Sin­gle-A Polar League Champions this year. They had a 10-1 re­cord in the section and earned first seed and a bye into the first round of the playoffs.

The Class 1A, Sec­tion 7 Second Round playoffs began against C r o m w e l l – Wr i g h t at the Grand Rapids Sports Complex on May 23rd, resulting in a win for Silver Bay. Madison Ollman was the winning pitcher in the game, pitching 6 innings, allowing 3 runs, and record­ing 3 strikeouts, and 2 walks. Berkley Hoff closed the game, al­lowing no hits and achieving 2 strikeouts and no walks.

The two seniors this season, whom the coach has called the lead­ers of the team, played a significant role in the 5-3 win. Brooke Velcheff hit a double in the first inning and knocked in 2 runs. Ka­tie Carpenter scored 2 runs and also had a double.

The second game of the day, against Cherry, didn’t go quite as well. “Unfortunately, we lost to Cherry the next game, 5-0. So, we put ourselves a lit­tle bit behind the eight ball,” the coach said. It was a tighter game than the score might suggest, being 1-0 all the way into the 5th in­ning.

“They kind of had a good inning on us in the 5th,” Coach Guz­zo recalled. Cherry was able to pull off 4 runs in that inning.

Berkely Hoff pitched all 7 innings, record­ing 6 strikeouts and 1 walk. “I thought she pitched pretty solid,” said Coach Guzzo. However, the team’s hitting wasn’t at its best. Lilly Ernest was the top player for the team, reaching base all 3 times she batted.

On Tuesday, if all goes well, the team will take on Carlton/Wrenshall in their first game, followed by a second game with the winner of the South Ridge vs. Ely game and then the third game will be against Moose Lake or Cher­ry to advance to the championship.

“We feel pretty good,” said Coach Guzzo. “We beat all the teams before, so that’s a good thing. We know we can beat them.”

He reminded me that he told me from the very beginning of our collaboration that Sil­ver Bay tends to put on a winning program. They haven’t disap­pointed. Their overall record for the season? 16-4.

“If we make 20 wins, I’ll probably be a hap­py guy!” said Coach Guzzo.

Congratulations to the Mariners players, coaches, and fans for the incredible regular season and for achiev­ing the Polar League Sin­gle-A Champions!

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