Blossoms are ready for state softball tournament

Published 8:15pm Monday, June 3, 2013

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — After finishing in second place after a 2-1 loss to Cherry at the Class ‘A’ state softball tournament last season, the Awesome Blossoms are back and they’re ready for another strong run.

But they’re not getting ahead of themselves.

To play in Friday’s state title game, Blooming Prairie (20-3 overall) will have to get past New Ulm Cathedral (19-5 overall) Thursday at 1 p.m. in Caswell Park in North Mankato and then it would have to beat the winner of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (22-0 overall) and Red Lake Falls (16-7 overall) Thursday at 7 p.m.

“Everyone there is good,” BP catcher Sam Ivers said. “I think everyone’s goal is to win it and it would be fun to for us to go out with a win.”

BP beat the Greyhounds 3-2 in a thriller in last year’s state semifinals, but BP head coach Ali Mach isn’t sure what Cathedral’s team looks like this season. She does expect Greyhounds to be aggressive at the plate and on the bases.

“We just have to make sure we play error free and be aggressive on offense,” Mach said. “It’s going to be a good battle. If we’re playing good softball, we have a pretty good shot at it.”

Swenson was dominant in last year’s state tournament as she struck out 24 and allowed just two earned runs in three games. BP’s season ended on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh against Cherry.

“I think I’ve gotten a lot better as a player. I’ve improved my mental game and I can study hitters,” Swenson said. “I’m trying to start new this year and forget about what happened last year.”

Swenson may have more confidence this time around, but she will still feel butterflies before she throws the first pitch on Thursday.

“Of course I’m nervous. I get nervous before every game,” Swenson said. “Some of the younger girls don’t know what’s coming, but they’ll do great.”

BP senior shortstop Jenna Krell is looking forward to playing at state, but it’ll be tough for her to player her last game with the Blossoms.

“It’s bittersweet,” Krell said. “I feel really lucky to have the experience I’ve had with the softball program. We’re all really excited and we want to make it the best experience yet.”

Herald sports editor Rocky Hulne will be providing live updates of the Blossoms at state on twitter. Follow him @RockyHulneADH.

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