Rosemount, Mankato East, D-G-F, Edgerton/SMC win State Softball Championships
CLASS 4A – Rosemount 6, Forest Lake 1
For just a moment on Friday, June 9, fans watching the Class AAAA championship game between No. 1 Rosemount and No. 3 Forest Lake at Caswell Park in North Mankato, wondered if perhaps an upset was in the making. Forest Lake was the defending big-school champion and Rosemount was on a quest to complete a season of perfection.
But in the fourth inning, it was Forest Lake holding a one-run advantage and Rosemount was trailing for the first time in this season’s Minnesota State High School League Softball State Tournament.
One swing took care of those doubts and it came from a familiar source.
Senior first baseman Paige Zender hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, a line drive that sailed well beyond the left field fence, to give the Irish the lead for a good and an advantage that would stand en route to a 6-1 victory over the Rangers in a rematch of the 2021 big-school state championship game. Zender, who has signed to play at Iowa State, hit four home runs during the two-day state tournament, all on Field 1.
It is the fourth softball state championship for Rosemount (26-0) in as many title game appearances. The others came in 1979, 2006 and 2021. If you recall, Zender hit a home run in the 2021 Class AAAA championship game victory over Forest Lake. She finished the season with 15 home runs.
The Irish, who had a way with opponents this season in scoring 10 or more runs in 19 games this season, tacked on four more runs in the sixth inning on four hits. Senior pitcher Jessa Snippes, a Gophers recruit, gave up two hits and struck out seven to finish the tournament 3-0. Forest Lake had scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning on no hits and two errors.
Forest Lake (22-4) finished as the big-school runner-up for the fifth time in program history.
Sophomore third baseman Lauren Beissel had three hits and scored a run while senior pitcher Madison Wihlm gave just two hits and struck out nine in helping to send Maple Grove to a 2-0 victory over White Bear Lake in the third-place game.
Hopkins ended its season with a victory following a 9-1 win over Farmington in the consolation final. Junior first baseman Albina Carter 2as 2 for 4 with three runs batted in while Senior third baseman Lola Jessen and senior outfielder Violet DuPree had three hits each. Senior pitcher Signe Dohse gave up three hits and struck out 10.
CLASS 3A – Mankato East 11, Chisago Lakes 0
Mankato East went to great lengths just to qualify for the Class AAA championship game that was played on Friday, June 9 in the Minnesota State High School League’s Softball State Tournament at Caswell Park in North Mankato. The night before, the top-seeded Cougars were in a dandy battle with No. 3 Cretin-Derham Hall, a tense, dramatic affair that endured for 10 nail-biting innings before Mankato East prevailed.
With being on the threshold of capturing the school’s first softball championship in more than 30 decades, the Cougars didn’t leave anything to chance.
Mankato East took control from the start and didn’t let up until the final out of an 11-0 victory over No.3 Chisago Lakes in the Class AAAA title game. The Cougars (25-3) scored in every inning but the sixth and broke things open with a four-run top of the seventh on the way to the first championship since 1991. Mankato East previously had won Class AA championships in 1986, 1988 and 1989, respectively.
Junior catcher Destiny Reasner was 3 for 4 with three runs batted in to lead a 10-hit attack. She and teammate Emily Hacker, a freshman left fielder, each had a home run in helping the Cougars finish the season on a 14-1 spree since May 9.
Junior designated hitter Lillian Myhra had two hits for Chisago Lakes (21-5), who were in a championship game for the first time in two state tournament trips.
Cretin-Derham Hall, making its third state tournament appearance and first since 2021, finished the season on a winning note with a 4-0 victory over Delano for the third-place trophy. Senior first baseman Sophie Black was 2 for 2 with two runs batted in to pace the Raiders.
Sophomore shortstop Jillian Fitzgerald scored three runs and had one of Winona’s four hits in a 4-1 victory over Becker in the consolation final. Senior pitcher Kurstyn Patnode accounted for Becker’s lone run with a home run in the bottom of the third that tied the score at 1-all.
Class AA – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 3, St. Charles 1
In eight trips to the Minnesota State High School League’s Softball State Tournament, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton was not able to secure an extra special trophy to bring home with them to northwestern Minnesota.
The Rebels, seeded No. 5 in the Class AA field, completed a three-game upset spree with a 3-1 victory over No. 2 St. Charles on Friday, June 9 at Caswell Park in North Mankato, and with it, a stowaway in the form of a championship trophy. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton scored three runs in the top of the first inning and that strong start set the tone for a season-ending title that brought a flood of tears and wide smiles of joy.
Senior right fielder Kaleigh Peterson was 2 for 3 freshman first baseman Danielle Boyd had an RBI single in the first that paved the way for the Rebels to finish their historic season on a 16-game winning streak. In forging its path to the Class AA championship game, the Rebels defeated No. 4 Pipestone Area 6-4 in the quarterfinals on Thursday morning. Later in the afternoon, in perhaps its signature victory of the season, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (26-2) posted a 2-1 victory over top-seeded LeSueur-Henderson in the semifinals.
Eighth-grader Autumn Leach and sophomore Natalee Linman combined to scatter seven hits and had five strikeouts.
St. Charles (25-3), the Class AA runner-up in 2021 to LeSueur-Henderson in its only other state tournament trip, was also looking to make program history. Senior catcher Grace Buringa was 3 for 3 and junior center fielder Makadyn Gust was 2 for 3.
LeSueur-Henderson, which began the tournament as the No. 1 seed, rebounded from a semifinal loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton to record a 5-0 victory over St. Agnes in the third-place game. Junior first baseman Morgan Gregerson had three runs batted in and eighth-grade left fielder Teagan Graham had three hits to pace the Giants (22-6). Senior pitcher Chloe Brandt had 12 strikeouts in the final game of her prep career.
Proctor bounced back from a quarterfinal loss with two victories in the consolation bracket, the final one of the season a 5-3 victory over Pipestone Area in the consolation final. Junior catcher Anika Burke and junior left fielder Emma Shelton were both 3 for 4 for the Rails.
CLASS A – Edgerton / SW Minnesota Christian 10, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 5
Edgerton/SW MN Christian became part of a historical trivia question on Friday, June 9 during the Minnesota State High School League’s Softball State Tournament at Caswell Park in North Mankato. When asked someday to name the season and teams when two No. 5 seeds emerged as state champions, the Flying Dutchmen are part of that rare feat.
Edgerton/SW MN Christian completed its eye-popping journey with a 10-5 victory over No. 2 Badger/Greenbush-Middle River in the Class A championship game that wrapped up two days and 44 games of competition over four enrollment classes. About 90 minutes earlier, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton also captured a championship as the No. 5 seed when the Rebels recorded a victory over No. 2 St. Charles in the Class AA title game.
The Flying Dutchmen claimed their third Class A crown since 2016 with an overwhelming 18-hit attack that produced runs in bunches. Edgerton/SW MN Christian opened the game with four runs in the top of first, three more in the fifth and three after that in the seventh. Junior second baseman Ana Veldkamp was 5 for 5 with two runs scored and two knocked in to pace an offense that sent 42 batters to the plate. Senior pitcher Paris Van Dyke chipped in three hits.
Edgerton/SW MN Christian (19-6) lost six consecutive games to end the regular season, but played its best softball at the right time of the season with seven wins in a row during the postseason.
Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (26-2) finished as the Class A runner-up for the fourth time in as many championship game appearances. Senior Cassidy Dahl was 2 for 3 for the Gators.
Moose Lake/Willow River, the No. 3 seed, finished as projected following a 6-0 victory over Upsala in the third-place game. Sophomore shortstop Hallie Klavu, senior designated hitter Sarah Christy, sophomore first baseman Sandra Ribich and junior left fielder Jorja Lusczak had two hits each for the Rebels (23-4). Junior pitcher Isabel Leners and sophomore center fielder Hailie Luedtke each had a hit for Upsala (24-4).
Randolph, the top seed to open the Class A tournament, responded to an opening-round upset with two victories in the consolation bracket, including an 8-0 win over New Ulm Cathedral in the consolation final. The Rockets (24-2) scored two runs in the top of the second and tacked on four more an inning later in a nine-hit attack. Sophomore pitcher Carter Raymond was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI. In the circle, she gave up three hits and struck out six. Junior center fielder Jenna Hotovec had two hits for New Ulm Cathedral (18-8).
All recaps and photos courtesy Minnesota State High School League