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2024 Softball State Tournament: Day 2 Recap

Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2024 - 7:45 PM


Championship berths were determined on Day 2 of the Minnesota State High School League’s Softball State Tournament on Thursday, June 6 at Caswell Park in North Mankato. 

Not only did semifinalists battle one another, they also had to contend with wind that was steadily in the 25 mph range with gusts of up to 40 mph. The conditions paved the way for numerous home runs and defensive concentration as routine fly balls were anything but. 

Here is a look at the semifinals and the championship matchups: 

Class A

Top-seeded New Ulm Cathedral has another opportunity to add to its championship legacy after posting a 4-2 victory over No. 4 Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in the semifinals. Senior centerfielder Jenna Hotovec led the way with three hits and a run scored while sophomore right fielder Ava Schmid had a two-run homer to center field in the fifth inning. 

In the lower-bracket semifinal, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley won the battle of unseeded teams with an 8-2 victory over West Lutheran. Both teams posted upset victories in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley erased a one-run deficit with four runs in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the sixth. 

Sophomore first baseman Hannah Gary was 2 for 3 with five RBIs for the Wolverines. She had a two-run double in the fifth inning and a three-run homer in the sixth. 

Class AA

Top-seeded Randolph needed just one run in its semifinal and then someone to protect that lead. Junior left fielder Ella Banks supplied the offense with an RBI double in the top of the third inning and junior pitcher Carter Raymond took it from there in leading the Rockets to a 1-0 victory against No. 5 St. Agnes. Raymond struck out the final two St. Agnes batters and finished with 11. She also surrendered just one hit to St. Agnes. 

Randolph, playing in its first season in Class AA, was the Class A champion in 2021.

No. 2 Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial earned the spot opposite of Randolph with an 8-3 victory over No. 3 St. Cloud Cathedral. Sophomore left fielder Grace Thorson had a home run to spark the Knights to its first championship game appearance. Their only other state tournament trip was in 2009.

Class AAA

Top-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall and No. 3 Mankato East posted semifinal victories and will face one another with a championship at stake. 

Cretin-Derham Hall advanced with a 5-4 victory over No. 5 St. Francis. Sophomore shortstop Allie Castro hit a home run to left centerfield in the top of the seventh inning to snap a tie and send the Raiders into a softball championship for the first time since finishing as the Class AA runner-up in 1991. Junior first baseman Kaiya Anderson added two hits and two runs scored for the Raiders, who extended their recent winning streak to six games. Junior pitcher Brooke Nesdahl also had a home run and struck out 11 from the circle. 

St. Francis sophomore pitcher Sydney Borchert was 2 for 2 with a home run and three RBIs. 

Meanwhile, a short distance away on an adjacent field, Mankato East took another step toward what it hopes will be a successful title defense with a 5-0 victory over No. 2 Winona. Seventh-grade right fielder Kenley Staunton ignited a four-run third inning with a leadoff home run to left field. Later in the inning, senior first baseman Hailey Petzel hit a two-run homer to left center. Junior pitcher Kylinn Stangl had 16 strikeouts to earn the victory. 

Earlier this season, Winona recorded a 4-3 victory during the Big 9 Conference schedule. The Cougars have five state championships in their storied softball history. 


The top two seeds in the big-school class did not advance to a championship game rematch as many predicted. Instead, No. 3 Rogers and No. 4 New Prague will play for a title in the first championship berth for each. 

New Prague ended the championship reign of top-seeded Rosemount with a 3-1 victory. Rosemount, seeking its third state championship since 2021, rapped out 11 hits but was stymied by New Prague, and ultimately, the Irish left 10 runners on base. New Prague senior pitcher Jordyn Marsh was a big part of that with five timely strikeouts and the ability to coax Rosemount into inning-ending plays. 

New Prague scored its three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Marsh helped her cause with a two-run double down the left field line. Moments later, the Trojans added another unearned run. Rosemount produced a run in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI single from junior designated player Bryn  Anderson.

Rogers started quickly and kept going strong throughout its 7-5 victory over Forest Lake in the lower-bracket semifinal. Just 12 minutes into the game, the Royals built a 4-0 advantage after just half an inning. Rogers had five hits during the spree. But shortly after in the bottom of the second inning, Forest Lake pulled to within a run on a three-run homer to left field from junior outfielder Ava Stenglein. The back-and-forth drama ensued from there. 

New Prague added two runs in the top of the third, and later, Forest Lake would pull to within 6-5 on a two-run homer from sophomore catcher Ava Stenglein in the bottom of the fifth. 

Forest Lake was attempting to earn a spot in the Class AAAA championship game for the fourth consecutive season.

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