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New Life tied a state record by reaching an amazing eighth consecutive state tournament, beating Minneapolis Washburn 2-0 in the Section 4A Championship game in May. (Bulletin file photo)

2013 Year in Review: New Life continues decade of dominance

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Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

The New Life Academy softball team continued to make history in 2013.

New Life tied a state record by reaching an amazing eighth consecutive state tournament, beating Minneapolis Washburn 2-0 in the Section 4A Championship game in May.

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With the eight straight state appearances, New Life tied Winona Cotter for the most in Minnesota high school softball history.

Head coach Mick Ramey, who joined the NLA softball team in 2003 and has been the head coach since 2006, has been around for each one.

“We want to be humble about it,” Ramey said after the record-tying win. “We don’t have great big celebrations. I don’t want to say it’s old hat, but it’s expected when we get this far. I’m very happy about the way it ended.”

Making history is nothing new to the New Life Academy softball program. The Eagles already rewrote the record books by winning a state-record four consecutive state championship titles between 2008 and 2011. In 2012, in its quest for a fifth-straight state championship, the team finished in fourth place in the Class A state tournament.

This past year, New Life earned second place in Class A, though the Eagles had only four seniors – just two of whom were everyday players - on their roster.

New Life Academy’s quest for a fifth state championship in the past six years was cut short by Blooming Prairie and star pitcher Shelbi Swenson in the state championship game in North Mankato in June.

Swenson, a senior, held powerful New Life Academy – which finished the year 18-4 - to four hits and one run, striking out eight, in a 3-1 win over the Eagles in the title game.

“We’re on track,” Ramey said after the championship loss. “Our goal was to get back here this year and win those first couple of games. This game was icing on the cake. Sure, we wanted to win, but we’re OK with second. Blooming Prairie is a very good, well-coached team. I applaud their effort.”

This past year, New Life also extended its string of Minnesota Christian Athletic Association conference championship titles to eight-straight seasons finishing a perfect 8-0 in league play.

-Patrick Johnson

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