Park softball: 4 hours, 20 minutes and a new state record
Whether Park High School’s Amber Galloway would keep pitching was not the only thing on head softball coach Bob Loshek’s mind during the Wolfpack’s game against Roseville.
Loshek also wondered if they’d finish before nightfall.
“Holy moly,” he said later. “I’m just glad we got it in.”
They did — and apparently they set a new state record in the process.
Park’s 8-6 win over the Raiders in 19 innings on Wednesday, May 7, took 4 hours, 20 minutes. The team walked off the field in Roseville about 8:30 p.m. with the victory and likely a new record. The game blew past a 27-year-old record of 3 hours, 47 minutes. That was set in a 1987 game in which Austin topped St. Cloud Apollo 2-1 in 19 innings, according to Minnesota State High School League stats.
“That’s a long one,” Loshek said of Park’s marathon victory. “When you go to tournaments you can play 21 innings (total), but you get breaks.”
There were no breaks last Wednesday, including for Galloway, who tossed all 19 innings. That alone is a feat, but Loshek said it’s even more notable because Galloway had pitched in a game against Woodbury on May 5 and another against Mounds View on May 6.
“She’s such a gritty kid,” he said of Galloway.
Roseville pitcher and Iowa State recruit Emma Hylen also threw all 19 innings.
The Raiders got out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and Park tied it at 1-1 in the top of the second. Roseville then tacked on four more runs in the bottom half of the second to take a 5-1 lead.
The Wolfpack clawed their way back with a pair of runs in the third and another run in the fifth inning. Then, in the top of the seventh, Park tied the game at 5-5. Galloway held off the Raiders in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
Loshek said that after the eighth inning he checked with Galloway to see how she was feeling. She wanted to keep pitching.
“She said, ‘Let’s win this,” he said.
The squads went four scoreless innings before Park put a run on the board in the 12th inning. Roseville responded with a run to tie it at 6-6.
In the 17th or 18th inning, Loshek said, the umpire let the coaches know they only had about 20 to 25 minutes of daylight left.
“I said, ‘Good thing we’ve got these yellow balls going,’” Loshek said.
It remained 6-6 until the top of the 19th inning. Hylen walked two Park batters.
With two outs, Park’s Molly Swanson then connected on a line drive double to left-center that knocked in a pair of runs.
“It was awesome,” Loshek said. “You knew right away when she hit it it was going to fall in the gap.”
That put the Wolfpack up 8-6. Galloway returned to the circle in the bottom of the 19th. Roseville grounded out three straight times to end the game.
Park had a combined 10 hits on the game. Swanson and Galloway each recorded two RBI. Rachel Suter had three runs, Galloway two and one apiece for Autumn Mortenson, Samantha Flack and Gwen Warling.
Loshek applauded Galloway’s performance and said the Wolfpack defense also was sharp. The Raiders had a total of 18 hits but Park turned a number of double plays to end Roseville scoring threats.
Loshek said he has paperwork to submit to the high school league to secure the new state record for the longest high school softball game played. The game has changed since the late 1980s, he said, when pitching was probably more dominant.
“It might be another 26-27 years before we see that broken again,” he said of the record.
It was a memorable game, Loshek said.
“Regardless of how the season goes and the season ends, (it’s) something the kids will be able to take with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.