Class AAA Softball Championship: Becker completes three-game title run
Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 4:21 PM
Becker’s first appearance in a softball championship game was a successful one on Wednesday, June 16 with a 4-0 victory over Winona for the Class AAA title at Caswell Park in North Mankato. In six previous state tournament appearances, the Bulldogs had been unable to reach the championship round. That changed in 2021 when Becker (20-6) pieced together an impressive three-game run with quality pitching and timely hitting.
With a championship at stake, the Bulldogs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning when left fielder Ellie Gallus singled and then eventually scored. She was 2 for 2 with two runs scored. Becker then sealed the victory with three runs in the top of the seventh inning when they produced five hits. Center fielder Kurstyn Patnode supplied the firepower in the inning with a three-run home run down the left field line.
Emma Eickhoff pitched the distance and struck out 10 for Becker.
Becker, which also won the Class AAA girls basketball crown in April, qualified for its first championship game with a 5-1 victory over Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the semifinals. Second baseman Madelyn Sherman highlighted an early outburst with an RBI triple down the right field line.
Winona completed the championship pairing with a 7-6 victory over top-seeded Mankato West in eight innings in the other semifinal. Pinch hitter Avery Engrecht supplied the heroics with an RBI single with two outs. The see-saw game featured four home runs. During the Big Nine Conference season, Mankato West had recorded a 14-10 victory on May 15.
It was the third appearance in the Class AAA championship game for the Winhawks since 2016. That year, they were the Class AAA runner-up before winning the crown the following season.
In the most current championship game, pitcher Makayla Steffes, catcher Macy McNally and designated player Ava Hamsund each had a hit for the Winhawks (21-6).
Top-seeded Mankato West rebounded from an extra-inning loss to Winona late Tuesday night to race past Benilde-St. Margaret’s for a 9-2 victory in the Class AAA third-place game. First baseman Lauryn Douglas and four runs batted in for the Scarlets (22-6) and second baseman Lani Schoper had two hits to lead a nine-hit attack. Pitcher Abbi Stierlen gave up four hits and struck out seven.
First baseman Kylie Wagner had two RBIs for Benilde-St. Margaret’s (18-8).