Softball State Tournament: Day 1 Recap
Softball State Tournament: Day 1 Recap
Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 11:49 PM
A field of 32 teams vying for championships in four classifications was pared to eight during a nearly 15-hour day and night at the 2021 Minnesota State High School League’s Softball State Tournament at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Here is a look at what happened during Day 1 of the celebrated tournament and which teams advanced for an opportunity to return to their schools with a championship trophy.
Browerville-Eagle Valley remained undefeated in their quest of a championship with an 8-4 victory over Badger/Greenbush-Middle River in the semifinals. Third baseman Aubriana Schwanke and left fielder Leona May had two hits apiece. May had a two-run double to right center during a four-run third inning when Browerville-Eagle Valley built a 6-2 lead.
It is the first appearance in a championship game in three state tournament trips for Browerville-Eagle Valley.
Top-seeded and undefeated Randolph, making its third consecutive appearance in the state tournament, advanced to the championship game with a 5-0 victory over Edgerton/SW MN Christian in the other semifinal.
Pitcher Morgun Otte was dominant in the circle with 18 strikeouts and surrendering just one hit. She struck out the first seven batters she faced and 10 of the first 12. Catcher Megan Erickson and third baseman Carter Raymond had two hits apiece.
· Randolph scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning in recording a 10-0 victory over Sebeka in five innings. Randolph catcher Megan Erickson was 3 for 4 with a homer, three scored and three runs batted in.
· Left fielder Leona May hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth as Browerville scored two runs to rally past Wabasha-Kellogg.
· Shortstop Morgan Pap hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Edgerton/SW MN Christian a 5-2 victory over Cherry.
· Third baseman Lauren Kvien was 3 for 4 to help power Badger/Greenbush-Middle River to a 6-3 victory over Springfield. She also stole home during the Gators’ five-run fourth inning.
Top-ranked LeSueur-Henderson raced into the championship game with a 13-2 victory over Annandale. The Giants pounded out 19 hits and had a seven-run fifth inning. Pitcher Chole Brandt, catcher Zoe Thomson and second baseman Samantha Wilbright all had three hits apiece for LeSueur-Henderson, the Class AA runner-up in 2014. Thomson had four RBIs and a two-run homer in the seventh.
Later, St. Charles advanced to the title game with an 8-4 victory over Pipestone. Left fielder Jade Krenik and centerfielder Makadyn Gust had three hits apiece as the Saints rapped out 10 hits.
If St. Charles emerges as the Class AA champion, it will be the first state title in any sport for the school located in southeastern Minnesota.
· Third baseman Olivia Fritz hit a two-run home run to center field to cap a four-run inning that spurred LeSueur-Henderson to a 5-0 victory over Hawley.
· Catcher Josey Marquette was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two knocked in while second baseman Jennah Groth was 3 for 3 as Annandale recorded a 10-2 victory over Greenway.
· Pipestone scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning en route to a 4-3 victory over Maple Lake.
· St. Charles scored an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth inning to edge Mounds Park Academy, 2-1. Catcher JuliAnna Gazdik was 3 for 5 for Mounds Park Academy, which was making its state tournament debut.
Becker sprinted to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and wasn’t threatened later en route to a 5-1 victory over Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the semifinals. Second baseman Madelyn Sherman highlighted the early outburst with an RBI triple down the right field line. Third baseman Cadence Koste added two hits in helping send the Bulldogs to the Class AAA championship game for the first time in seven state tournament appearances.
Catcher Michelle Doerging had a team-best two hits for Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
Winona completed the championship pairing with a 7-6 victory over top-seeded Mankato West in eight innings. 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 1410 victory on May 15.
This is the third appearance in the Class AAA championship game for the Winhawks since 2016. That year, it was the Class AAA runner-up before winning the crown the following season.
· Top-seeded Mankato West rolled to a 10-0 victory in five innings behind shortstop Breck Carlson, who was 3 for 3 with two runs scored.
· Shortstop Grace Fricke hit a home run to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning to propel Winona to a 6-5 victory over Sartell.
· Center fielder Kurstyn Patnode hit a two-run homer to right center to help send Becker to a 2-0 victory over Cretin-Derham Hall.
· Tibby Hessian ripped a two-run single to center field in the top of the sixth inning to help Benilde-St. Margaret’s outlast St. Anthony for an 8-7 victory.
Unseeded Forest Lake began the day with some adversity when its bus broke down just prior to reaching Caswell Park.
“You have to keep an even keel and roll with the punches,” Forest Lake head coach Sean Hall said. “I really applaud the girls for staying focused through some adversity. They kept it together. Once we got to the park, they stayed the course and took care of business.”
The Rangers opened with an 8-5 victory over top-seeded Stillwater in the quarterfinals and followed that many hours later with a 5-4 victory over No. 4 Chanhassen in the semifinals. Bethany Weiss was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two runs batted in, both coming on a two-run home run to left center that gave the Rangers a 5-3 advantage and an eventual berth in the championship game for the first time since finishing as the Class AAA runner-up in 2011. The Rangers were also softball runner-ups in 1995 and 2000.
Hannah Tong pitched five innings of relief to record the win. She scattered three hits and struck out five.
Chanhassen ace Sydney Schwartz struck out 11 and was also 2 for 2 with two runs batted in.
Rosemount, the No. 3 seed, completed the championship pairing with an 8-3 victory over No. 2 Centennial in the other semifinal. The Irish scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and added three more in the sixth. Shortstop Izzy Yahr was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and three runs batted in. All of her RBIs came on a home run to left center that set the score.
It is Rosemount’s third appearance in a championship game. The previous two trips results in championships in 1979 (Class AA) and 2006 (Class AAA).
· Forest Lake advanced to the semifinals with an 8-5 victory over top-seeded Stillwater. Logan Anderson led off the game with a home run off Stillwater ace Allison Benning and the Rangers pulled away with a three-run third inning. It was the second time Forest Lake had defeated the Ponies in three meetings this season. The state powers split two games during the Suburban East Conference season. Anderson was 2 for 3 and scored four runs. Benning, who lasted four innings, was 2 for 3 with two home runs and three runs batted in.
· Shortstop Karina Tollberg was 3 for 4 with an RBI single in the ninth inning that lifted Chanhassen to a 1-0 victory over Elk River.
· Helene Kraage hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to send Centennial to a 5-3 victory over Hopkins.
· Jessa Snipes scattered three hits and struck out 10 to power Rosemount to a 6-2 victory over South Suburban Conference rival, Lakeville North.