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VCC softball team splits with Hibbing

The Vermilion Ironwomen won one slugfest and lost another Tuesday at Hibbing.Six Vermilion players rapped out two hits each as the community college softball team beat the Cardinals 8-6 in the first game of the Northern Division twinbill.And despite a four-for-four performance by Heather Santi and three hits by Ely native Andrea Whiting in the nightcap, the Ironwomen were unable to keep up with Hibbing’s bats and fell 22-14.Vermilion, which wraps up regular season play this week, is 5-13 for the season.Both games had twists and turns, with the Ironwomen prevailing at the end of the first game and Hibbing countering in the second.VCC took a 6-1 lead with a six-run second inning, but the Cardinals tied it at six by the end of the fifth.That set the stage for the Ironwomen in the sixth, when Whiting singled home fellow Elyite Cara Bigelow for the go-ahead run. Linnea Branstrom brought home an insurance run with a hit of her own, and winning pitcher Krystle Smrekar retired the Cardinals in the seventh.Six different players - Branstrom, Santi, Whiting, Bigelow, Andrea Rosenquist and Mandy Nauman - had two hits for Vermilion.Bigelow scored twice and drove in two runs.In the second game, Vermilion scored five runs in the top of the first, while Hibbing rallied with four in the first and six more runs in the second.The Ironwomen tallied five times in their next turn at bat to knot the game at 10, but the Cardinals answered right back with four runs.“It went back and forth there for awhile,” said Vermilion Head Coach Steve Crittenden. “It was 10-10, then they were ahead 14-10. We cut it to 14-12 and then they scored four to make it 18-12. We cut it back to four runs and then they got four more to make it 22-14.”Santi was one of several VCC players to have a big day at the plate, smashing four hits, scoring four runs and driving in two.Whiting went three-for-four with two runs batted in.Lori Brick had two hits, scored twice and drove in two runs, while Bigelow was two-for-three with two runs and two RBI.Smrekar and Rosenquist added two hits for the Ironwomen.• Northland swept the Ironwomen April 23 and shut them out twice in the process, winning 4-0 and 8-0.“It was the first time all year that we didn’t hit the ball,” said Crittenden.• The following day, VCC game top-ranked Central Lakes all it could handle.The Raiders won the first game 10-9 in eight innings, and squeaked out a 10-8 victory in the nightcap.“We hit the ball like crazy that day,” said Crittenden.• The regional playoffs are this weekend at Grand Rapids.

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