All three 2012 champions return to defend titles at State Softball Tournament
All three 2012 champions return to defend their respective titles: Cherry of Iron in Class A; New Ulm in Class AA; and Stillwater Area in Class AAA.
Two teams are making their debut appearances at this year’s tournament. New York Mills will compete in Class A and Pequot Lakes will compete in Class AA.
All three classes of the tournament will be conducted at Caswell Park in North Mankato on Thursday and Friday, June 6 and 7. Detailed statistics provided by qualified teams are available from the League website home page — www.MSHSL.org — as a Media Guide link under Tournaments > Spring > Girls’ Softball.
Class A Quarterfinal Highlights (All games Thursday, June 6)
(Note: None of the Class A qualifiers played each other during the regular season.)
(Section 7) Cherry, Iron (21-2) vs. (Section 4) New Life Academy of Woodbury (16-3) @ 9:00 a.m. — The defending champions from Cherry return in search of a second consecutive title. This is their second consecutive and overall appearance under this name; they appeared also as a co-op with Cotton in 2010 and 2011. The Tigers batted .427 as a team this year and outscored their opponents 187-38, hit 10 home runs and stole 23 bases. The team provided no individual hitting statistics. Junior pitcher Kacey Herring compiled a 15-0 record with 121 strikeouts in 107 innings pitched and has an ERA of 5.23. The Eagles of New Life Academy of Woodbury are making their eighth consecutive and overall appearance. They placed fourth in 2012, but won four consecutive titles between 2008 and 2011. The Eagles scored 170 runs and gave up 40. They, too, like to run and stole 32 bases. Sophomore Valerie Hohol is the team leader, hitting .554 on 31 hits with 21 RBI, and going 16-3 as the leading pitcher, striking out 128 in 110 innings with a 2.04 ERA.
(Section 5) Eden Valley-Watkins (15-3) vs. (Section 6) New York Mills (24-2) @ 9:00 a.m. — The Eagles of Eden Valley-Watkins are making their second consecutive and overall tournament appearance. They bowed out in the consolation semifinals last year. The Eagles of New York Mills are making their debut appearance at this year’s tournament. Neither team provided team or individual statistics.
(Section 3) Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (22-0) vs. (Section 8) Red Lake Falls (17-7) @ 1:00 p.m. — The Fighting Saints of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg are making their third consecutive and fifth overall appearance and earned the consolation title in 2012. They outscored their opponents 258-31 this year and bat .440 as a team. Senior pitcher Erin Haglund compiled a season record of 13-0 and a 1.25 ERA. But her bat also provided a team-leading .539 average, including 36 RBI on 41 hits. Senior Courtney Olson contributed 43 RBI and eight home runs. The Eagles of Red Lake Falls are looking to improve on last year’s sixth-place showing in their second consecutive and overall appearance. They scored 217 runs this season and held opponents to 137. The Eagles are led by senior Brianna Breilands with a .440 average and 40 hits. Six different players have driven in 16 or more runs, led by junior Molly Amberson with 33. Junior Kadie Amiot is the leader on the rubber, going 12-4 with 56 strikeouts in 101 innings pitched. Her ERA is 2.96.
(Section 1) Blooming Prairie (20-3) vs. (Section 2) New Ulm Cathedral (19-5) @ 1:00 p.m. — The Awesome Blossoms of Blooming Prairie, runners-up last year, are making their fourth consecutive and overall appearance. The team scored 204 runs and held opponents to 20 while hitting .352 as a team and limiting opponents to 56. Senior pitcher Shelbi Swenson played in every game and struck out 249 batters in 149 innings and has a 0.42 ERA. Swenson also led Blooming Prairie with a .455 batting average and 30 RBI on 35 hits. The Greyhounds of New Ulm Cathedral are making their fourth consecutive and 14th overall appearance. They took third last year, but won titles in 1993 through 1995, 2003, 2005 and 2007. This year the Greyhounds scored 228 runs on 240 hits and they have a team batting average of .384. Senior Lisa Helget bats .533 for New Ulm Cathedral and senior Paige Pautzke hits .370. Two ninth-graders share the pitching duties for the Greyhounds; Leah Krzmarzick went 7-2 with a 1.88 ERA and Anna Mohr went 7-3 with a 1.74 ERA.
Class AA Quarterfinal Highlights (All games Thursday, June 6)
(Schedule Note — To accommodate commencement ceremonies, any second-round game involving Rockford will be played Thursday, June 6, at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Field 5.)
(Section 1) Kasson-Mantorville (22-2) vs. (Section 4) St. Anthony Village (23-3) @ 11:00 a.m. —The KoMets of Kasson-Mantorville are making their second consecutive and fourth overall appearance. They lost in the consolation semifinals in 2012. During the regular season Kasson-Mantorville lost to fellow qualifier New Ulm 10-0 in six innings. The KoMets, who bat .376 as a team, scored 229 runs this year and held their opponents to 48. Junior Kaylea Schoor wields the heaviest bat with an average of .602. She also tallied 21 RBI on 53 hits. Sophomore Maddie Damon is the top pitcher for Kasson-Mantorville; she went 20-2 over 126 innings with 199 strikeouts and a 1.33 ERA. The Huskies of St. Anthony Village are making their second consecutive and sixth overall appearance. They did not face any other qualifiers this year and are hoping to improve on last year’s runner-up finish. The Huskies scored 255 runs to their opponents’ 70, batting .377 as a team. Junior Kelly Lawson is one of the offensive leaders with her .573 batting average on 47 hits with 31 RBI. Senior Sarah DeMars went 22-3 toeing the rubber, struck out 137 in as many innings for a 2.05 ERA. She also is hitting .262 with 17 RBI on 17 hits.
(Section 7) Hermantown (21-3) vs. (Section 6) Pequot Lakes (19-2) @ 11:00 a.m. — The Hermantown Hawks return to tournament play after a one-year absence to make their 19th appearance. They are in the hunt for their fourth title, having won previously in 1991, 2002, and 2009.The Pequot Lakes Patriots are making their first tournament appearance. Neither school provided team or individual statistics and neither met any other qualifiers during the regular season.
(Section 3) New Ulm (22-3) vs. (Section 2) Maple River, Mapleton (18-4) @ 1:00 p.m. — This game is a rematch of a regular season game that Maple River won 4-3. The defending champions from New Ulm return for their second consecutive and seventh overall appearance. In addition to Maple River, the Eagles also met and defeated Kasson-Mantorville 10-0 in six innings during the regular season. New Ulm outscored opponents 230-47 while hitting .358 as a team and limiting opponents to hitting .160. Their offensive firepower included 15 home runs. The Eagles provided no individual statistics. The Eagles of Maple River earned titles in 1992, 1996 and 2001, and are making their second consecutive and 14th overall appearance. They placed fourth in 2012 and did not face any other qualifiers during the regular season. Maple River scored 143 runs on 234 hits this year and has a .371 team batting average. Senior Makayla Rahn is the leading hitter, batting .473 on 35 hits and 20 RBI. She also pitches, went 16-3, struck out 143 in 117 innings and has a 1.44 ERA.
(Section 8) Fergus Falls (14-10) vs. (Section 5) Rockford (16-3) @ 1:00 p.m. — The Otters of Fergus Falls return after a one-year absence to make their second appearance. Fergus Falls did not provide team or individual statistics. The Rockets of Rockford are making their third appearance and first since 1990. The team is hitting .363. Four players have compiled 20 or more hits. Sophomore Brianna Calder has the most with 38 and a .551 average. Ninth-grader Bria Majeski went 11-2, striking out 68 in 69 innings, and has a 1.43 ERA. Neither team faced any other qualifiers during the regular season.
Class AAA Quarterfinal Highlights (All games Thursday, June 6)
(Schedule Note — To accommodate commencement ceremonies, any second-round game involving Orono will be played Thursday, June 6, at approximately noon on Field 5, and any second-round game involving Bloomington Jefferson will be played Thursday, June 6, at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Field 5.)
(Section 6) Orono (20-3) vs. (Section 8) Elk River (18-3) @ 9:00 a.m. — The Spartans of Orono return for their second consecutive and fourth overall appearance. They placed third last year and won one previous title in 2008. During their regular-season finale the Spartans lost to Forest Lake 8-2. Orono bats .422 and scored 227 runs while holding opponents to 28. Junior Rebekah Smith is the offensive leader with her .603 average and 54 RBI on 47 hits. Senior Samantha Hartmann is 11-0 on the season, striking out 81 in 57 innings and has a 0.56 ERA. Junior Hannah Bergh went 8-2 on the mound for Orono with 105 strikeouts in 64 innings and a 1.10 ERA. The Elks of Elk River are making their fifth appearance and first since 2009. They won their only title in 2009. Elk River lost to Maple Grove twice during the regular season: 6-5 and 2-1 in eight innings. The Elks scored 177 runs while holding opponents to 29 and they have a .371 batting average. Senior Kathi Opsahl set a new school record for most RBI in a single season with 30 and she has a team-leading batting average of .532. She also swatted in four home runs. Junior Anna Pipenhagen (16-3) is the primary hurler and struck out 164 in 124 innings and has a 1.13 ERA. She also set a school record with seven shutouts this season.
(Section 1) Farmington (20-5) vs. (Section 7) Forest Lake (22-2) @ 9:00 a.m. — The Tigers of Farmington are making their second consecutive and third overall appearance. They lost in the consolation semifinals of the 2012 tournament and did not face any other qualifiers during the regular season. Farmington is hitting .319 as a team and outscored opponents 167-59. Senior pitcher Ashley Betzold powers the offense with her team-leading .410 average and 17 RBI on 32 hits. Betzold also went 17-5 on the mound with 130 strikeouts over 143 innings and a 1.08 ERA. The Forest Lake Rangers are making their sixth consecutive and 12th overall appearance. They placed sixth in 2012. This season the Rangers split a series with Stillwater Area, losing 5-4 and winning 12-2 in six innings. They also defeated Orono 8-2. Forest Lake bats .399 as a team and had 191 RBI on 284 hits. Opponents were held to 51 runs while the Rangers scored 205. Junior Alexa Bremer has the best batting average of .494, including 29 RBI on 40 hits. Senior pitcher Michelle LaCasse has a 1.70 ERA and struck out 76 batters over 115 innings.
(Section 3) Bloomington Jefferson (15-5) vs. (Section 5) Maple Grove (21-1) @ 11:00 a.m. — The Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars are making their third consecutive and overall appearance, having won the 2012 consolation title. They defeated Prior Lake 4-1 this year. The Jaguars tallied 120 runs on 195 hits this year and they bat .350 as a team. Senior Krista Flugstad led the Jaguars with 29 hits and has a .439 batting average. Senior Alex O’Connor compiled an 8-2 record on the mound with 54 strikeouts in 60 innings. Her ERA is 2.10. Four Bloomington Jefferson team members will play college softball next year: Hannah Evavol for the University of Minnesota, Cassie Santiago for Winona State University, and O’Connor and Karman Carroll for Southwest Minnesota State University. The Crimson of Maple Grove are making their second consecutive and fourth overall appearance. They earned runner-up honors in 2012. The Crimson split a series with Elk River this year, winning 6-5 and losing 2-1 in eight innings. Maple Grove hits .361 as a team and outscored its opponents 131-47. Sophomore Sydney Smith leads the offense with her .545 average and team-leading 42 hits and 32 RBI. Smith also went 19-0 as the Crimson’s top pitcher. She tossed 177 strikeouts over 125 innings and has an ERA of 0.51.
(Section 2) Prior Lake (15-3) vs. (Section 4) Stillwater Area (20-3) @ 11:00 a.m. — Prior Lake is making its fourth appearance and first since 2010. The Lakers lost to Bloomington Jefferson 4-1 during regular-season play. Prior Lake bats .425 as a team and notched 166 runs on 225 hits. Senior Morgan Rykken has the most innings, 85, and struck out 30 for a 2.25 ERA. Ninth-grader Justus Perry owns the team-leading .533 batting average with 33 RBI on 32 hits. Junior Kara Lattery also bats .526 for the Lakers. The defending champions from Stillwater Area return for their second consecutive and ninth overall appearance. In addition to last year, the Ponies also earned titles in 1995, 1996 and 1998. Stillwater Area provided no team or individual statistics, but did split a series against tournament qualifier Forest Lake, winning the first 5-4 and losing the second 12-2 in six innings.Schedule
Following Thursday’s quarterfinal games, the Class AAA semifinals (both championship and consolation) are scheduled for 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (with the exceptions noted above). The Class AA semifinals will be played at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The Class A semifinals will be played at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
The consolation championships for all three classes will be played at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, followed by all third-place games at 11:00 a.m. The Class AAA championship will begin at 1:00 p.m. The Class A title game will start at 1:30 p.m., and the Class AA title game will begin at 2:00 p.m.
Championship Games to be Streamed Live
All three championship games will be streamed live by GrandStadium.tv. The games can be viewed free. Find links at www.Prep45.com.