Despite not being able to put the best lineup on the field all season, the Nevis fastpitch softball team was able to compete and produce an 8-10 overall record.

The Tigers opened the season by sweeping doubleheaders against Kelliher-Northome (13-8 and 13-4) and Laporte (12-1 in five innings and 16-11 to open Upper Mississippi Conference play).

A six-game losing streak followed as Nevis lost games to Menahga (15-4), Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (20-10 in five innings and 19-3 in three innings in a conference doubleheader), Blackduck (13-3 in six innings), and Pine River-Backus (11-8 and 13-6 in a conference doubleheader).

A 17-5 win over Cass Lake-Bena in a conference game started a four-game winning streak as the Tigers followed that victory by defeating Red Lake (14-4) in the conference finale. W-H-A and PR-B shared the conference title with 6-1 marks while Nevis took third at 4-4. Red Lake (2-3), Laporte (1-5) and Cass Lake (0-5) followed.

Nevis then opened the Deer River Invitational with wins over Braham (13-3) and Ogilvie (17-2 in four innings) before falling to Bagley (2-1) in the championship game.

Nevis closed the regular season with losses to Kelliher-Northome (6-5) and Sebeka (14-9 in 10 innings).

For the Section 5A tournament, the Tigers received the No. 6 seed in the West and saw their season end with a 2-1 loss to No. 3 Menahga.

"Overall, I would say we didn't quite meet our preseason expectations," said Nevis head coach Mike O'Rourke. "We played our first eight games without our full starting lineup, (so it was) difficult to get any cohesion. We never hit the ball quite as well as I expected, but again (that's) difficult when you're not playing your best lineup. We pitched well and really fielded OK, but we seemed to make our errors in bunches, which hurt us."

As a team, the Tigers hit .314 and averaged 9.2 runs a game while allowing 8.5 runs per game with a team ERA of 6.47. Nevis committed 47 errors in the field that led to 67 unearned runs.

Leading the Tigers this season were the players who started in at least 11 games: seniors Brianna Nelson (catcher), Ashley Pyburn (shortstop), Jessica Swanda (left field) and Erin Tooker (right field); and juniors Nikki Bayman (third base), Lydia Bjorklund (center field), Kia Heide (first base/pitcher), Cora Umthun (pitcher/first base) and Jayden Vredenburg (second base).

Nelson and Pyburn competed in the Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches Association Class A All-Star Series while Nelson and Heide received all-state honorable mention honors for Class A players. Nelson, Pyburn and Heide also received all-conference honors. Bjorklund and Umthun received all-conference honorable mention honors.

Nelson was second among the starters with a .476 batting average (20 hits in 42 at bats, including a team-leading four home runs) and 16 RBI to go along with 20 runs scored in 15 games.

Heide led the starters with a .532 batting average (25 for 47, including three doubles, two triples and one homer) with 19 runs scored and 11 RBI in 15 games. Heide also made nine pitching appearances, going 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA. Heide allowed 37 runs (10 earned) on 18 hits and 30 walks with 27 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Pyburn batted .296 (16 for 54, including three doubles and a homer) with 13 runs scored, 10 stolen bases and seven RBI in 16 games.

Bjorklund played in 13 games and hit .333 (12 for 36) with 10 runs scored, seven steals and five RBI.

Umthun led the Tigers with 14 pitching appearances and 66 innings, going 3-4 with a 6.95 ERA. Umthun gave up 88 runs (51 earned) on 78 hits and 43 walks with 64 strikeouts. At the plate, Umthun hit .292 (14 for 48) while leading the team with 22 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 16 games.

Bayman batted .323 (10 for 31) in 11 games with five runs scored.

Tooker started 12 games and hit .278 (10 for 36) with 14 runs scored and eight steals.

Vredenburg played in 13 games and had a .275 batting average (11 for 40, including three doubles) with 11 runs scored and nine RBI.

Swanda played in 14 games and had a .140 average (6 for 43, including a homer) with 11 runs scored.

Nelson, Heide, Umthun and Vredenberg shared the team's Most Improved Player honor. Earning Gold Glove awards were Nelson, Pyburn, Heide and Umthun.

Playing in eight games this season were senior Gabby David (3 for 13) and freshmen Maggie Carrier (8 for 20, six runs, 1-0 record, 9.75 ERA) and Maddyson Brakke (2 for 18).

Rounding out the Tigers' varsity roster were juniors Emily David, Leya Durgin and Megan Geraidts; sophomores Maggie Karl and Paris Munn; and freshmen Danika David, Sonja Habedank, Alexis Johnson, Mackenzie Mitchell, Emma Soldwisch and Samara Walker.

"We had great seniors this year. Ashley has always been a leader and Brianna took over catching and was great at the plate. Erin and Jessica came back to the program after some years away and were great in the outfield. Gabby was always ready to fill in where needed. They all will be missed," said O'Rourke. "Next year we will have to find a new outfield, but our infield should be fairly set. We get all three pitchers back and that should only be an asset since they all should improve."

Nevis offensive statistics (regular season)

Batting average: D. David .667 (2 for 3), Walker .571 (4 for 7), Heide .532 (25 for 47), Nelson .476 (20 for 42), Carrier .400 (8 for 20), Bjorklund .333 (12 for 36), Leya .333 (1 for 3), Bayman .323 (10 for 31), Pyburn .296 (16 for 54), Umthun .292 (14 for 48), Geraedts .286 (2 for 7), Tooker .278 (10 for 36), Vredenburg .275 (11 for 40), G. David .231 (3 for 13), Habedank .200 (2 for 10), Johnson .167 (1 for 6), Mitchell .143 (1 for 7), Swanda .140 (6 for 43), Brakke .111 (2 for 18), Soldwisch .000 (0 for 2), Pollock-Shimer .000 (0 for 1), E. David .000 (0 for 1), unn .000 (0 for 0).

2B: Heide 3, Pyburn 3, Vredenburg 3, Umthun 2, Nelson 1, Carrier 1, Bayman 1, Swanda 1.

3B: Heide 2, Walker 1, Nelson 1, Bayman 1, Geraedts 1, Tooker 1, Vredenburg 1.

HR: Nelson 4, Heide 1, Pyburn 1, Swanda 1.

Runs: Umthun 22, Nelson 20, Heide 19, Tooker 14, Pyburn 13, Vredenburg 11, Swanda 11, Bjorklund 10, Carrier 6, Walker 5, Bayman 5, Johnson 5, Geraedts 3, D. David 2, Habedank 2, Soldwisch 2, Munn 2, G. David 1, Mitchell 1, Brakke 1.

RBI: Nelson 16, Heide 11, Vredenburg 9, Pyburn 7, Bjorklund 5, Umthun 4, Swanda 4, Walker 3, Carrier 2, Tooker 2, G. David 2, Habedank 2, Bayman 1, Brakke 1.

SB: Umthun 13, Pyburn 10, Tooker 8, Bjorklund 7, Heide 5, Carrier 3, Leya 3, Munn 3, Nelson 2, G. David 2, Johnson 2, Swanda 2, Bayman 1, Geraedts 1, Vredenburg 1, Mitchell 1.

Nevis pitching statistics (regular season)

Umthun (14 games, 3-4 W-L, 6.95 ERA, 66 innings, 88 runs, 51 earned runs, 78 hits, 43 walks, 64 strikeouts), Heide (9 games, 2-2 W-L, 3.60 ERA, 25 innings, 37 runs, 10 earned runs, 18 hits, 30 walks, 27 strikeouts), Carrier (7 games, 1-0 W-L, 9.75 ERA, 12 innings, 16 runs, 13 earned runs, 12 hits, 13 walks, 6 strikeouts).