Park softball: Oh my, ‘Pack upsets No. 1 BurnsvillePark senior pitcher Ashley Kluever threw a complete-game shutout against No. 1-ranked Burnsville on Friday, May 22 to help the Wolfpack beat the Blaze 3-0 in the Section 3AAA quarterfinals at Eagan’s Lexington-Diffley Athletic Park.
By: Patrick Johnson, staff writer, South Washington County Bulletin
After battling the flu the recently, Park senior pitcher Ashely Kluever said she woke up Friday morning and felt unbelievable.
Turns out it was more like unbeatable.
Kluever threw a complete-game shutout against No. 1-ranked Burnsville on Friday, May 22 to help the Wolfpack beat the Blaze 3-0 in the Section 3AAA quarterfinals at Eagan’s Lexington-Diffley Athletic Park.
“I just felt like nothing could get me down today,” Kluever said. “It was just one of those feelings that you feel when you know you’re going to have a really good day.”
In the game, Kluever allowed three hits, walked three and struck out six and fellow senior Kelsey Johnsen delivered the go-ahead hit in the top of the fourth inning to help the Wolfpack (17-5) hand the Blaze only its second loss of the year.
With runners on second and third, Johnsen hit a one-out, two-run single in the top of the fourth inning driving home Taylor LeMay and Samantha Armstrong to give the Wolfpack a 2-0 lead. In the next inning, Park senior Lauryn Morris rapped a triple and was brought home by classmate Kelsey Waltz on a fielder’s choice to put the Wolfpack up 3-0 — which was more than enough for Kluever.
Park head coach Charlie Whitbred, who is retiring at season’s end after 29 years coaching softball, said it was the best game by his team this year.
“Kluever threw good, (Burnsville) didn’t get many hits and we played good defense,” Whitbred said. “Kelsey Johnsen, a senior who’s been struggling a little, came through with the big hit. Good pitching and timely hitting — that’s been the key all year.”
In some of the team’s losses this year Park has seemed to shoot itself in the foot, but that wasn’t the case against Burnsville (20-2).
“When you play a big game like this you can’t make any mistakes,” Whitbred said. “We didn’t make any mistakes and the win was the result. When we play good we can play with anybody in the state.”
Park will take on either No. 6 seed Lakeville North or No. 2 seed Rosemount in the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament on Tuesday, May 26. A win in the semis would put Park in the finals on Thursday, May 28 with a chance to go to its first state tournament since 2004. A loss would move the Wolfpack into the loser’s bracket and a must-win scenario.
“The goal now is to score as many runs as we can and to fight through everything,” Kluever said. “Just because we beat (Burnsville) doesn’t mean we’re in the state tournament. We have to play every game like its our last game.”
Tags: cottagegroveMore from around the web