21 straight to state: Blooming Prairie headed to softball state tournament
Blooming Prairie did all of its damage in just one inning, and their pitcher took care of the rest as it earned a trip to the Class ‘A’ state softball tournament when it beat Hope Lutheran 4-0 for its 21st straight win in the Section 1A title game at Todd Park Thursday.
BP (23-2 overall) scored four times in the fourth inning when Anna Peterson bunted in a run, Hope Lutheran mishandled a Kelly Peterson bunt that allowed two runs to score and Hunter Henderson smashed a run-scoring double down the left field line to make it 4-0.
All of the damage was done off of Minnesota’s new all-time strikeout leader, Felcia Meyer, who finishes her career with 1,197 strikeouts.
“There was a little bit of intimidation, I can’t say there’s not,” said Henderson, a sophomore catcher. “But you can’t just sit there and be intidmidated, you’ve got to go out there and hit her. We made them play the ball and look at the score, we did our job.”
Meyer allowed five hits to the Blossoms and BP’s junior ace Erica Manske fanned nine and allowed just three baserunners all day. The Patriots (17-5) never had a runner get past second base after the first inning.
Mankse had eight walks in two games on Saturday, but she had her control throughout Thursday’s game.
“I think I just came in more confident and I was more ready. We had a few days to prepare for this and it went our way,” Manske said. “I just think we’re better this year and we’re more prepared. Last year we were good (when BP lost twice to Hope Lutheran), but we came in knowing we could do it this year. Nothing can compare to (going to state). It’s what we’ve been working on for all year.”
BP’s fourth inning rally started when Tricia DeBoer led off with an infield single, reached second on a wild pitch and stole third. When DeBoer scored on Peterson’s bunt to make it 1-0 BP head coach Ali Mach said.
“I never imagined that it would end like this,” Mach said. “I knew it would be a tight game and then we got that one run and I was pretty pumped. Then the runs just kept on coming.”
BP will open the state tournament against the Section 6A next Thursday in Mankato in Caswell Park at 11 a.m.
BP 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 — 4 5 1
HL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 1
BP pitching: Erica Manske (W), 7 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 9 K
BP hitting: Tricia DeBoer, 1-for-4, R, SB; Anna Peterson, 1-for-4, RBI, R, SB; Tayla Jones, 1-for-3, R; Kelly Peterson, 1-for-3, R; Sam Johnson, 0-for-3; Hunter Henderson, 1-for-3, double, RBI; Manske, 0-for-1, BB; Kelli Naatz, 0-for-2, BB; Julia Magnes, 0-for-2, BB; Sidni Olson, 0-for-1
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