DICKINSON, N.D.-- The first game in the best-of-three championship series for the NSAA conference title needed extra innings to decide a winner. UJ and Bellevue battled to a 0-0 stalemate after seven innings, and the additional frames proved to be full of offense.
Emma Keller (JR/Poulsbo, WA)'s ninth-inning home run proved to be the margin of victory as Jamestown took a 4-3 win in the series opener.
The loss ended the Bruins' 12-game winning streak and gave the Jimmies their first 40-win season since 2003.
Bellevue loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth against Brittany Rheault (JR/West Fargo, ND), but the UJ righthander shut the door on the Bruins and kept the game tied at 0.
The Bruins threatened again by getting a runner to third base in the bottom of the seventh, but Hanna Dunnigan (SR/Regina, SK), who relieved Rheault at the beginning of the inning, struck out Sydney Robertson to send the game to extras.
The Jimmies raced to a 3-0 lead in the top of the eighth. Kylie Macaig led off with a bunt single. Emma Keller followed up with a single and advanced Macaig to second. Mikayla Frost reached on base by a walk to set up a bases loaded situation with no outs for Jamestown. Kelly Halverson (SO/Surrey, BC) singled to left to bring home Macaig for the first run of the game. Tifani Schorzman (JR/Coeur d'Alene, ID) reached on an error, allowing to Keller and Frost to score the second and third runs of the inning.
Bellevue stormed back with three runs in the bottom half. Emily Gigax singled in Erin Sharpe to make it 3-1, then with two outs, Michaela Miller singled to center, allowing Maggie Siedlik and Sarah Zeleny to come home.
Keller smashed a solo home run on a 0-1 count and one out as Jamestown regained their lead at 4-3 in the top ninth inning.
Keller finished with a pair of hits and an RBI. Frost added two hits, including her 87th of the season to set a new Jimmie record. Schorzman drove in two runs. Halverson singled and drove in a run. Rheault, Linda Ontiveros (SR/Yuma, AZ), Macaig and Dunnigan each had a hit.
Sharpe was 3-for-3 to lead the Bruins. Siedlik added a double, and Gigax had a hit and drove in a run. Miller had a pair of hits and RBIs. Robertson had the other Bellevue hit.
Rheault pitched the first six innings and held the Bruins to three hits while striking out six. Dunnigan earned the win with three innings of relief,
Kelli Fisher took the loss, pitching all nine innings. She gave up four runs on ten hits and struck out seven.
Bellevue forced a deciding championship game on Monday with 1-0 win in Sunday's second game.
Erin Sharpe pitched a perfect game as the Bruins used a Sayde Woten seventh-inning home run for the margin of victory. Sharpe struck out three and needed just 66 pitches for the win.
Hanna Dunnigan was equally impressive in the circle for Jamestown, as she allowed just two other hits in 6 2/3 innings prior to Woten's homer in the seventh.
Game three of the championship series will be played at 2:30 p.m. Monday. The winner will receive the NSAA's automatic bid to the NAIA national tournament.