Cottage Grove softball: State champs!
Led by pitcher Cassie MacArthur, who will be a senior at Park this year, the Cottage Grove Wolfpack won the 16U Tier 2 State Championship.
To win the championship, the Wolfpack went 5-1 at state and defeated Grantsburg, Wis. 6-3 in eight innings in the deciding game.
"This was a total team effort," Cottage Grove head coach Dan Collins said. "The girls performed when they had to and did everything that was needed to win this state tournament."
In the game, MacArthur -- who began the tournament by pitching 22 straight scoreless innings and struck out 44 batters in six state tournament games -- went the distance for the win, throwing eight innings and striking out 13 batters.
Tied 1-1, Cottage Grove scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning and MacArthur shut down Grantsburg in the bottom of the eighth for the win -- and the state championship.
"Bunting was the key in this win," Collins said. "We had three straight bunts for hits and Grantsburg could not stop us."
Cottage Grove's only loss in the double elimination tournament came at the hands of Grantsburg in the game prior to the final game, when the Wolfpack was defeated 2-1. In the game, MacArthur allowed four hits and struck out five, while Sam Flack went 3-for-3 to lead the way at the plate.
At state, Cottage Grove won its first four games -- by a combined 23-5.
In its first game, the Wolfpack defeated Spring Lake Park 4-0. Kayla Hemmingson had two hits in the game, while Austin Hughes, Sarah Grieman, Erin Kiefat, Jenny Berault and MacArthur each had singles. MacArthur also pitched five innings, striking out five for the shutout win.
In game No. 2, Cottage Grove beat the Plymouth Prowlers 8-0. MacArthur pitched six innings, striking out nine. At the plate, Berault singled and tripled and Kennedy Henderson, Kayla Hemmingson, Flack and Kiefat all had doubles in the win.
In the team's third game, the Wolfpack beat Champlin Park 4-0 as MacArthur pitched seven innings, striking out seven. At the plate, Flack tripled, MacArthur doubled and Jenny Berault had two singles.
Cottage Grove got its first real test in its fourth game when it faced top-seeded Grantsburg, Wis. for the first of what would be three head-to-head matches.
In the game, Cottage Grove won 6-5 in extra innings as Flack doubled home Henderson for the walk-off win. Flack and Henderson each went 3-for-3 in the game.
Flack and MacArthur shared pitching duties in the game, with MacArthur earning the win, putting Cottage Grove within a win of the state championship.