Blossoms softball team wins two dramatic games to get within one game of state

Published 4:41 pm Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Awesome Blossoms are in command.

Blooming Prairie is one win away from the Class ‘A’ state softball tournament after beating Randolph 4-1 and Hope Lutheran 3-2 at the Section 1A tournament in Todd Park Saturday.

BP will play the winner of Rushford/Peterson and Hope Lutheran in Todd Park at 7 p.m. for a trip to state. If BP loses that game, it will play again Thursday.

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The Awesome Blossoms clinched the Subsection 1A West Division Title in dramatic fashion against the Rockets (13-9 overall) when Sam Johnson belted a walk-off seventh inning, bases loaded home run that sailed well over the left field fence to end the game.

Johnson finished 1-for-3 in the win.

“I was way ahead of the ball the whole time and I was kind of losing confidence a little bit,” she said. “But everybody kept telling me I could do it, so I went out and hit the ball hard and it went out. I knew it was out and I just wanted to cry.”

The hit would’ve been a grand slam, but Johnson was called out for making contact with a teammate before she touched home plate.

In the second game, BP (22-2 overall) trailed the Patriots (17-3 overall) 2-1 going into the sixth inning. Anna Peterson singled and Tayla Jones doubled to start the inning and Kelly Peterson put down a sacrifice bunt to tie the game at two.

BP, which has now won 20 straight games, took the lead for good when sophomore Kelli Naatz drew a bases loaded two-out walk.

Hope Lutheran had a runner on second with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but BP pitcher Erica Manske forced two straight groundouts to end the game.

On the day, BP’s opponents left a total of eight runners in scoring position as Manske came through with some clutch pitching.

“That’s just what I’ve been taught to do and what I’ve been doing for years. I came through today and everything worked out,” Manske said. “We played good.”

Jones, a junior shortstop, finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI against Hope Lutheran ace Felicia Meyer, who fanned 13.

“We’re a better hitting team this year and Tayla’s been one of our top hitters,” BP head coach Ali Mach said. “You never imagine that a kid’s going to crush the ball that hard consistently. But that’s great and it helped us out significantly.”

While BP’s offense made some big plays, its defense was equally effective in the wins. Hope Lutheran took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, but it could’ve been much worse.

BP outfielder Julia Magnes recovered a wild throw and threw to left fielder Tricia DeBoer, who covered third base, to get Christine Klug for the first out and BP center fielder Shelbi Swenson threw out Dakota Ellinghuysen at home plate for the third out. Ellinghuysen was trying to score from second on an RBI-single by Lacey Ellinghuysen.

“That’s a tough team to beat when you have the lead and lose it. My kids never gave up,” Mach said. “Our kids wanted this all season long and they wanted to see what they could do against Hope Lutheran. They played hard all day long and we made the plays we needed to.”

BP lost to Hope Lutheran twice in the Section 1A tournament last season and they had their season end at the hands of the Patriots. This time around, the Blossoms were ready.

“It’s the most amazing feeling ever, this game has always been in the back of our minds and we’ve been working for it all season. But we still have one more left,” said Manske, who had eight strikeouts in the day. “I was nervous, but I always get nervous and I need it to get focused.”

Randolph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 6 5

BP 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 — 4 7 1

BP pitching: Erica Manske (W), 7 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 1 ER, 5 K

BP hitting: Tricia DeBoer, 2-for-4, R, SB; Anna Peterson, 3-for-4, double, R, SB; Tayla Jones, 0-for-3, R; Kelly Peterson, 0-for-2, R, 2 BBs; Sam Johnson, 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBIs, HBP; Hunter Henderson, 0-for-3; Manske, 0-for-3; Sidni Olson, 1-for-3; Julia Magnes, 0-for-3

BP 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 — 3 6 2

HL 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 — 2 4 2

BP pitching: Manske (W), 7 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 K

BP hitting: DeBoer, 1-for-4, R, 2 SB; Anna Peterson, 2-for-4, R; Tayla Jones, 3-for-4, 2 doubles, RBI, R, R; Kelly Peterson, 0-for-3, RBI; Johnson, 0-for-2, SB, BB; Henderson, 0-for-2, BB; Mankse, 0-for-2; Olson, 0-for-1; Magnes, 0-for-3; Kelli Naatz, 0-for-1, RBI, BB