New Life Academy softball: Eagles beat Washburn, make it seven straight
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The New Life Academy softball team earned a seventh straight trip to the state tournament, beating 10th-ranked Minneapolis Washburn 5-3 for the Section 4A championship on Tuesday, May 29, at Hamline University.
In the game, the top-seeded Eagles (16-6) built a 4-1 lead through four innings and held on for the win over the second-seeded Millers (16-6).
The Eagles’ state tournament streak is the second-longest in state history. Only one team – Winona Cotter – has been to eight straight state tournaments. Two teams – St. Bernard’s and Hermantown – have been to six consecutive state tourneys.
This year, New Life returned only two starters and has nine players at nine new starting spots. The Eagles don’t have a senior and have five freshman and two seventh graders on the roster, so another run to state has been a surprise to some. The four-time defending Class A state champions haven’t been ranked in the top 10 in Class A all year. The Eagles are currently ranked 14th by the Minnesota State Coaches Association.
New Life Academy will take on the Section 6A champion – Sebeka or New York Mills – in in the opening round of state at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 7 at Caswell Park in Mankato.