2023 Class AAAA Softball State Championship: Rosemount 6, Forest Lake 1
Posted: Friday, June 9, 2023 - 4:55 PM
For just a moment on Friday, June 9, fans watching the Class AAAA championship game between No. 1 Rosemount and No. 3 Forest Lake at Caswell Park in North Mankato, wondered if perhaps an upset was in the making. Forest Lake was the defending big-school champion and Rosemount was on a quest to complete a season of perfection.
But in the fourth inning, it was Forest Lake holding a one-run advantage and Rosemount was trailing for the first time in this season’s Minnesota State High School League Softball State Tournament.
One swing took care of those doubts and it came from a familiar source.
Senior first baseman Paige Zender hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, a line drive that sailed well beyond the left field fence, to give the Irish the lead for a good and an advantage that would stand en route to a 6-1 victory over the Rangers in a rematch of the 2021 big-school state championship game. Zender, who has signed to play at Iowa State, hit four home runs during the two-day state tournament, all on Field 1.
It is the fourth softball state championship for Rosemount (26-0) in as many title game appearances. The others came in 1979, 2006 and 2021. If you recall, Zender hit a home run in the 2021 Class AAAA championship game victory over Forest Lake. She finished the season with 15 home runs.
The Irish, who had a way with opponents this season in scoring 10 or more runs in 19 games this season, tacked on four more runs in the sixth inning on four hits. Senior pitcher Jessa Snippes, a Gophers recruit, gave up two hits and struck out seven to finish the tournament 3-0. Forest Lake had scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning on no hits and two errors.
Forest Lake (22-4) finished as the big-school runner-up for the fifth time in program history.
Sophomore third baseman Lauren Beissel had three hits and scored a run while senior pitcher Madison Wihlm gave just two hits and struck out nine in helping to send Maple Grove to a 2-0 victory over White Bear Lake in the third-place game.
Hopkins ended its season with a victory following a 9-1 win over Farmington in the consolation final. Junior first baseman Albina Carter 2as 2 for 4 with three runs batted in while Senior third baseman Lola Jessen and senior outfielder Violet DuPree had three hits each. Senior pitcher Signe Dohse gave up three hits and struck out 10.