PINE RIVER -- Becky Gravdahl has a love of diamonds that is unmatched by many other high school seniors.
No, Gravdahl doesn't like the shiny rocks that are given as presents. She likes the ones that are made out of dirt and accompany four bases, a bat and a ball.
The Pine River-Backus softball player has nearly lived on the diamond playing both softball and baseball in her short life.
"It's more of a team sport instead of individuals. You can't have favorites. You have to use the whole team. It's not like basketball where you can throw it to the best player and he or she takes all the shots." -- Becky Gravdahl, PR-B senior
"I've been playing since I was in third grade," she said. "I like baseball more. I wanted to play baseball and they wouldn't let me when I was living in Texas so I played softball instead."
Gravdahl has had some experience with baseball. When she was a sophomore, she played in a baseball summer league with the PR-B baseball team.
"I was too old for the girls' softball program and not old enough for the women's softball league," said Gravdahl. "Playing with the guys went well. At first they didn't think it would be OK, but after a while the team started sticking up for me whenever the opposition would get on us."
Gravdahl's experience and love for the game showed last week. In a 12-11 win over the Verndale Pirates, Gravdahl was 3-for-4 with a triple and four runs scored. Against Pillager on Thursday the senior was perfect going 4-4 with four RBI to help get a 12-2 Tiger win.
On May 7, she knocked in the only Tiger run in a 16-1 loss to Pequot Lakes. Gravdahl scored on her fifth-inning homer.
"At the Warroad tournament Saturday she went 2-for-6, which was pretty good for how we played up there," said Tiger head coach Tracy Wolkenhauer. "We ran into some good pitchers."
Gravdahl considers herself in between a power hitter and a line drive hitter. She likes to get on base, though, and try to help the team win games.
"She's normally not a base hitter," said Wolkenhauer. "That's why she's my four or five hitter. When we have runners on we want her to bat to get in the runner. Whether it's a sacrifice or a hit she can usually get in the run. She usually comes through under pressure."
Gravdahl likes the pressure, which is why she plays one of the more demanding positions on defense. The senior plays third base.
"She's a strong third baseman," said Wolkenhauer. "She's not afraid of the ball over there. She could have the hardest hitter come to bat and she moves up expecting the ball to be hit right at her. She's not one of my fastest runners but she is quick. She has a quick glove and she has a quick snap to her throw."
Wolkenhauer likes the way her leader plays the game. She said she goes out every inning and gives it her all. She's a team leader, but isn't looking for the spotlight. Gravdahl believes there are not spotlights in softball.
"It's more of a team sport instead of individuals," said Gravdahl. "You can't have favorites. You have to use the whole team. It's not like basketball where you can throw it to the best player and he or she takes all the shots."
Other notable performances:
Softball -- Emma Hoglund of Pequot Lakes pitched the Patriots to a 16-1 win over Pine River-Backus. Hoglund allowed only one hit.
Shanna Bach of Little Falls pitched 15 innings in two wins over Alexandria. Bach struck out four and gave up just two runs in a 2-1 win and a 6-1 win.
Pierz's Stacy Block was 3-5 with a double and three RBI in a 12-5 win over Kimball. The team's first in two years.
Emily Waldahl of Staples-Motley went 4-5 with an RBI in a 12-7 win Friday over Pequot Lakes.
Track -- Teresa Parker of Pequot Lakes won the high jump and shot put and was second in the discus at the Patriots invite.
Emma Davenport of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale won the 1600- and 3200-meter runs at the section true team meet.
Becca Immonen of Wadena-Deer Creek won three events to help the Wolverines to a second-place finish at the Dagett Invite on Thursday in Frazee. The sophomore won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the pole vault.
Golf -- Kayla Boser of Pierz was the individual co-medalist at the Central Minnesota Conference meet Thursday.
Staples-Motley's Mary Hasselberg shot an 82 at the Ranger invite at the Cuyuna Country Club to gain individual medalist honors Thursday.
Jackie Heslop of Pequot Lakes shot a 42 to earn medalist honors at the Mid-Minnesota Conference meet Thursday.
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