Bismarck's season softball opener on Monday had a foul taste to it. The Demons blew an early lead and dropped an 11-10 decision to visiting Jamestown.
That downer didn't have time to stick, though. Lakyn Stork turned things around in the second game, hitting a grand slam homer and pitching Bismarck to a 13-2 victory at the Sanford Sports Complex.
Stork, a senior infielder and pitcher, said the first game was definitely not vintage BHS softball.
"We didn't play like we usually do (in the first game). The first game we were kind of sleepy on defense and our coach talked to us about it," Stork said. "Going into the second game I was motivated. ... We were more energetic, we were more confident in the batter's box, our defense was better and we just played as a team."
BHS head coach Kurt Grensteiner said the first game was a disappointment.
"That was not really us in the first game. We needed a spark," he said.
Stork provided the spark. She blanked the Blue Jays in the top of the first inning after walking the first two batters. And in the bottom of the inning she followed up singles by Emma Barta and Maddie Steckler and a walk to Logan Gronberg with a four-run homer over the 200-foot left field fence.
Gronberg lined a two-run home run to left field to cap a four-run second inning and the Demons were on their way.
Jamestown, meanwhile, had a difficult time with the right-handed Stork, who finished with a two-hitter, five walks and seven strikeouts.
The Blue Jays got on the scoreboard in the third inning. Stork struck out the first two hitters looking, but walked McKenna Jackson and surrendered an infield hit to Rachel Schiele. An ensuing infield error led to two unearned runs.
Bismarck ended the game via the 10-run rule with a five-run fifth. The winning rally included three unearned run, the result of an infield error and an untimely passed ball.
Stork said Monday's second game, played with temperatures in the 40s, was the best she's ever pitched.
"Definitely. I threw pretty hard on the corners and was pretty consistent after I figured out the umpire's strike zone," she said.
She said seven strikeouts in five innings was uncharacteristic for her.
"I'm more of a ground ball pitcher," she observed.
Home runs are nothing new to Stork. She said she ended the 2018 season with "14 or 15." Swatting a grand slam while she was pitching was something new, however.
"I knew what (Jamestown pitcher Alex Nihill) was throwing, got my hands back and just drove the ball," she said.
Stork says she thinks of herself as a shortstop who pitches, but Grinsteiner said he likes what he sees of her in the pitcher's ring.
"We're pretty deep with pitchers, but I'd like to see Lakyn Stork pitch more," he noted. "She has pitched a lot of innings the last two or three years ... but I think she likes the infield a little more."
"But," he added, "she does throw pretty hard."
Bismarck let an early 6-2 lead get away in the first game. The Blue Jays tied it with a four-run third that included a home run by winning pitcher Payton Gall.
Jamestown scored in every inning the rest of the way, opening an 11-7 lead.
Bismarck rallied with three runs in the bottom of the seventh as Logan Gronberg launched a rocket over the fence just left of center field.
Gall retired the next two batters, however, to preserve a 2-hour, 11-minute complete game win. She surrendered 10 hits, walked seven and struck out six.
The Demons return to action Friday, playing host to Valley City in a noon nonregional doubleheader at the Sanford Sports Complex. Jamestown has a long break before returning to the diamond on April 12 at Watford City.