June 08, 2018 07:50 PM
Unseeded Stillwater Area (16-13) knocked off its third straight seeded opponent, topping No. 1 seed Park, Cottage Grove (25-2) 5-1 to capture the MSHSL Class AAAA Softball Tournament championship on Friday afternoon at Caswell Park.
Stillwater Area captures its fifth MSHSL softball championship in its 10th state tournament appearance. The Ponies also captured titles in 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2012.
The 13 losses for the 2018 state championship Ponies is the most for a softball state championship, surpassing the 2012 Stillwater (AAA) squad that won the title with eight losses.
It was an impressive run for a Ponies club that entered section play with a 7-12 record, falling to 7-13 with an opening game loss to Credit-Derham Hall in the Section 4AAAA tournament. Since that 4-1 loss, the Ponies won six straight to capture the Section 4AAA championship and stormed through the Class AAAA State Tournament with wins over No. 2 Forest Lake, No. 3 Buffalo and the top seed Park to end the year on a nine game winning streak.
Stillwater came out strong early, as freshman starting pitcher Allison Benning worked a quick three-up, three down top of the first. In the bottom of the inning, she laced a double into the right field corner to drive in the first run of the game and her pinch runner, eighth grader Amber Scalia scored the second run on a two-out RBI single by eighth grade left fielder Morgan Wohlers.
After another quick 1-2-3 second inning for Benning in the circle, the Ponies put two more runs on the board with a two-out, two-run homer by senior third base Alex Ehde for a 4-0 lead.
With Benning’s early efficiency, the Ponies rode the momentum to a state championship as Benning went the distance, allowing a run on six hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts. She also went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.
The Wolfpack attempted a seventh inning rally, putting runners on first and second with one out with junior LF/DP Megan Morris delivering an RBI single to keep the rally going. But the Ponies were able to turn a fly out for the second out into a game ending double play by executing a 9-1-6-2 rundown.
Junior pitcher Bryanna Olson took the loss, working the first inning and allowing two unearned runs before sophomore Samantha Fohrman relieved her and worked the final five frames, allowing three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts.
Updated: June 08, 2018 07:50 PM
Created: June 08, 2018 06:42 PM
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