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Softball State Tournament: Class AAAA Recap

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2022 - 6:35 PM

News Graphic Softball 2022

Forest Lake made it a clean sweep of paybacks on Friday, June 10, 2022 at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Entering the Class AAAA bracket of the Minnesota State High School League’s Softball State Tournament, there were three schools in the field that had beaten the Rangers during the Spring of 2022.

Forest Lake had another chance at all three and turned the results into the school’s first softball state championship in 17 state tournament appearances. The Rangers culminated their two-day run at the state tournament with a 6-0 victory over No. 2-seeded Brainerd in the big-school championship game. In the regular-season finale, the Rangers (22-5) suffered a 2-1 loss to Brainerd (26-1) in what many wonder if it was a prelude of things to come in the state tournament.

“We are blessed to have a deep program,” Forest Lake coach Sean Hall said afterward. “They played without fear. They didn’t play scared and they lived in the moment.”

It is the third state championship for Hall, who is believed to be the first Minnesota high school coach to win titles with three different schools. In 2001, he led St. Bernard’s to the Class A crown and in 2007, he guided North St. Paul to the Class AA crown.

Forest Lake broke open a scoreless deadlock with five runs in the top of the fifth inning. Junior catcher Bethany Weiss, who was 3 for 4 had a key RBI double in the inning as part of the five-run spree. Senior Amber Dunaski was also 3 for 4 with an RBI for Forest Lake. Sophomore pitcher Hannah Tong pitched seven scoreless innings, gave up five hits and struck out seven.

In the Class AAAA quarterfinals, Forest Lake defeated No. 5 Centennial 6-3. On May 9, Centennial raced past Forest Lake for a 7-1 victory. In the Class AAAA semifinals on Friday, the Rangers recorded a 5-2 victory over top-seeded White Bear Lake Area. During the Suburban East Conference season, Forest Lake lost twice to the Bears, 2-0 and 7-2, respectively.


Third place

Unseeded Hopkins upset a seeded opponent for the second time in three games with a 6-0 victory over White Bear Lake Area in the third-place game. Hopkins, the Section 6AAAAA champion, upended No. 3 Chanhassen in the quarterfinals before losing to No. 2 Brainerd in the semifinals. In the final game of the season, the Royals (19-7) were in control from the start in blanking White Bear Lake, which entered the Class AAAA field as the top seed. Junior Signe Dohse was 3 for 4 with three runs scored to lead Hopkins offensively. She also surrendered just one hit to the Bears (22-5) while striking out four. Junior pitcher Chloe Barber had 12 strikeouts for White Bear Lake.


Centennial used a three-run first inning to pave the way to a 4-2 victory over East Ridge in the consolation final. Senior shortstop Alexa Just was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and senior catcher Bryn Ruhberg had two runs batted in for the Cougars (20-6). East Ridge, the Section 3AAAA champion, finished the season 18-8.



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