BP takes fourth at state

Published 8:11 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

Blooming Prairie catcher Hunter Henderson holds a tag on Kerkhoven/Murdock/Sunburg's Brooke Carlson during the third place game at the Class 'A' softball tournament in North Mankato Friday. The Awesome Blossoms lost the contest 11-5 to take fourth at state. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

NORTH MANKATO — An era came to an end for the Awesome Blossoms as they finished fourth in the Class ‘ A’ state softball tournament, but they also received a very slight glimpse of the future.

BP senior Erica Manske, who has started for four years, finished her pitching career for the Blossoms, who lost 6-1 to Cherry/Cotton (26-2 overall) in the semifinals and lost 11-5 to Kerkhoven/Murdock/Sunburg (23-1 overall) in the third place game.

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BP (21-3 overall) started strong against KMS as Hunter Henderson and Shelbi Swenson singled in runs in the first to go up 4-2. But KMS got it going in the third when it came up with four two-out hits to take an 11-4 lead.

“We had some tough luck in that last game and they hit the ball real well. We just couldn’t get back into it,” BP head coach Ali Mach said. “It’s nice to get a trophy and we improved on what we did last year. Hopefully someday we get back here and improve on this.”

Manske deferred to Shelbi Swenson, a sophomore who will pitch for BP next season, in the fifth inning and Swenson started her first state appearance on the mound with a strikeout. Then Swenson’s day was cut short as her and Manske, who moved to first base, collided on a pop fly.

Blooming Prairie's Tessa Ivers looks at Kerkhoven/Murdock/Sunburg catcher Brielle Helms after Ivers scored in the first inning to give BP a 3-2 lead in North Mankato Friday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

The ball landed on Swenson’s head and she had to leave the contest.

“I was looking straight up and if I had to do it again, I obviously would not have ran into her,” Manske said. “I feel really bad, but she’ll be okay. I love Shelbi and I thought it would be good for her to pitch in the state tournament.”

Swenson wanted Manske to finish the game, but was glad she got a chance to get a strikeout on the game’s biggest stage.

“It’s cool to be able to say that I did that,” Swenson said. “(Erica’s) been a great leader and it’s helped to learn under her.”

Manske shut down KMS for the last two innings and Tayla Jones belted a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth.

BP stranded eight runners against KMS and 11 runners against Cherry/Cotton.

The Blossoms had the bases loaded with no outs in the fifth against C/C and they plated just one run to get within 6-1.

We had some chances, but they squashed that pretty quick,” Mach said. “We put the ball in play and they made the plays.”

BP has lost just six games in the past two years and four of them have come at the state tournament. Still, the Blossoms are glad to be considered the fourth best team in the state.

“It’s tough to end like that, but we still had a really good season,” Manske said. “We should be proud of what we’ve done.”

BP junior outfielder Tricia DeBoer made the all-tournament team as she went 6-for-10 with 2 doubles an RBI, and three runs. DeBoer had the third-best batting best average in the tournament.

Swenson was tied for the best batting average in the tournament as she went 6-for-9 with two RBIs.

Mach hopes her team, which graduates three seniors, can continue to improve next season.

“We always push to improve and we’ll try and be better next year. Shelbi will be our pitcher and we’ll try and put a solid squad together,” Mach said.

KMS 2 2 7 0 0 0 0 — 11 16 2

BP 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 5 8 3

BP pitching: Manske (L), 6 2/3 IP, 15 H, 5 BB, 11 ER, 7 K, 1 HBP; Shelbi Swenson, 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K

BP hitting: Tricia DeBoer, 2-for-4, R; Manske, 0-for-4; Tayla Jones, 2-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB; Hunter Henderson, 1-for-4, RBI; Julia Manges, 1-for-3, R, BB; Shelbi Swenson, 2-for-2, RBI; Kelsey Kubista, 0-for-2; Sidni Olson, 1-for-4; Jenna Krell, 0-for-2; Kelsey Wolf, 0-for-1; Sam Ivers, 0-for-2; Taylor Farr, 0-for-1; Tessa Ivers, R

Cherry/Cotton 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 — 6 9 1

Blooming Prairie 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 1 6 4

BP pitching: Manske (L), 7 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 6 R, 2 ER, 8 K, HBP

BP hitting: DeBoer 2-for-2, 2 BBs; Manske, 0-for-3, BB; Jones, 0-for-4; Henderson, 0-for-3, BB; Manges, 1-for-4, RBI; Swenson, 1-for-3, BB; Olson, 2-for-3; Krell, 0-for-3; Sam Ivers, 0-for-2, BB; Kelsey Kubista, R