Softball: East Ridge, Park stay in the hunt for section title
East Ridge 1, Eagan 0
After a dominating win to open up the Section 3AAAA tournament, East Ridge found itself in a fight on Thursday afternoon.
It was a defensive battle between the Raptors and Eagan and East Ridge looked to Abbey Cook for a strong pitching performance. She pitched all seven innings and gave up zero runs on three hits, while striking out nine batters. Cook needed at least one run to help her get the win, and she received that support in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Sidney Zavoral came up to the plate and crushed a solo home run to make it a 1-0 lead for the Raptors. That would stand throughout the entire game as East Ridge ended the game with a 1-0 victory.
East Ridge recorded four hits as a team on Thursday, and the Raptors will look to improve that number as they advance to the championship semifinals.
East Ridge will play the No. 7 seed, Rosemount, on Tuesday, May 28, at 5 p.m. at Richfield Middle School. The Irish defeated No. 2 seed Park and No. 6 seed Hastings.
The winner will play in the championship game on Friday, May 31. The loser will continue its season, but will need to come through the consolation bracket without suffering a second loss in the double-elimination tournament.
Park 7, Henry Sibley 0
Park made sure its season didn't end on Thursday as the Wolfpack defeated No. 3 seed Henry Sibley, 7-0.
The Wolfpack scored in four different innings and received strong pitching performances from Bryanna Olson and Samantha Fohrman. Olson started the game and pitched five strong innings giving up zero runs on one hit with 10 strikeouts. Fohrman came in for the final two innings and gave up zero runs on one hit and struck out three.
Madi Meduna led the team with two RBI, while four other batters recorded an RBI in the game. Paige Heitkamp went 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Saren Croker went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
It was a strong way to bounce back from a tough loss to open the Section 3AAAA tournament. Park faced Eagan on Friday, May 24, in an elimination game after the Bulletin's deadline.
Rosemount 3, Park 2
Park resumed its Section 3AAAA game against No. 7 seed Rosemount on Wednesday after the game was postponed on Tuesday due to rain.
When the game started on Wednesday, Rosemount had the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning with two outs. Samantha Fohrman struck out the batter to close the inning and give the Wolfpack confidence heading into the bottom half.
After getting some baserunners on, Park wasn't able to capitalize and Rosemount ended the game with a 3-2 win.
"We have a very tough section," said Park head coach Bob Loshek. "There are no easy gimmes in this playoff hunt."
The rain started to fall during lineup exchange on Tuesday, but the two teams battled through the rain and cold for about four and a half innings. Then, the umpire called it because pitchers weren't able to grip the softball and the infield dirt got softer and softer each inning.
"There are so many variables that can happen and so many things that can go wrong or can go right," said Saren Croker. "We're not trying to make excuses because we know it's nothing we can control, but I think it was a good test."
The Wolfpack had chances to score a run and tie the game, especially in the sixth inning, but Rosemount found a way to stop them. Loshek said he expects the best game from every team Park faces because it's section time and the Wolfpack have been ranked in the top five throughout the majority of the season.
East Ridge 11, Apple Valley 1
East Ridge had big expectations coming into the opening round of the Section 3AAAA tournament. The Raptors were the No. 1 seed and they showed their dominance with an 11-1 win over Apple Valley on Tuesday.
It only took five innings for the Raptors to advance to the semifinals of the winner's bracket.
Sidney Zavoral led the Raptors with three RBI as she went 2-for-3 in the game, while Kaitlin Boyles and Avery Wukawitz finished the game with two RBI.
Abbey Cook was in the circle for East Ridge and was dominant for all five innings. She gave up one unearned run on two hits and struck out six batters.