Blossoms settle for silver at state

Published 7:09 pm Friday, June 8, 2012

Blooming Prairie's Shelbi Swenson walks towards her team's dugout as Cherry celebrates its victory in the Class 'A' state title game in Caswell Park in North Mankato Friday. The Awesome Blossoms finished in second place at the state softball tournament after falling 2-1 to the Tigers. -- Rocky Hulne/

NORTH MANKATO — The Awesome Blossoms made one too many mistakes as they lost the Class ‘A’ state softball title game 2-1 to Cherry in Caswell Park in North Mankato Friday.

The Tigers (26-0 overall) loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning without hitting the ball out of the infield as BP committed an error and Cherry came up with back-to-back bunt singles.

Blooming Prairie second baseman Kelsey Wolf waits to tag out Cherry's DeAnn Bjerklie in the Class 'A' state softball title game at Caswell Park in North Mankato Friday. The Blossoms lost the game 2-1. -- Rocky Hulne/

Then, with one out, Cherry’s Joely Roberts scored on Shebli Swenson’s only wild pitch of the day to give the Tigers their first state title in school history.

Email newsletter signup

“There’s nothing to hang their heads about,” BP head coach Ali Mach said. “We took second and we played as long as we could and as hard as we could. It just wasn’t our day.”

BP (22-4 overall) had a chance to take a lead in the sixth inning as Swenson hit a double with one out. After Kelsey Kubista popped out, Sam Ivers nearly doubled down the line to score a run, but the ball landed about a foot foul. Ivers eventually walked and Julia Manges flew out to center field to end the frame.

While BP committed four errors and had just four hits, Swenson held Cherry at bay for most of the game. She allowed just four hits, zero earned runs and struck out eight, but after the game she was still thinking about the opportunities her team missed.

“This one hurts and it’s hard, but it was a great season,” Swenson, a junior, said. “ We played good, but I always wish I could do more. I’m really going to miss the seniors.”

The Blossoms opened the scoring in the top of the first when Tricia DeBoer tripled and scored on a one-out single by Hunter Henderson. BP had runners on first and second with two outs, but Sam Ivers popped out.

Cherry came back and tied the game in the bottom of the first when Angie Dahl reached on an error and scored on a double by DeAnn Bjerklie, who was

Blooming Prairie's Hunter Henderson fouls off a pitch against Cherry in North Mankato Friday. -- Rocky Hulne/

thrown out while trying to advance to third.

“That (first inning) did hurt a lot because we had a couple of plays that should’ve been made,” Mach said. “It’s tough to get them prepared for two days of this environment. I think the girls played really hard and maybe we ran out of gas a little bit too.”

Cherry pitcher Shaina Novak had just five strikeouts, but she allowed only four hits and two walks to keep the Blossoms in check.

“She was everything we’ve always seen, she just liked to go high and some girls couldn’t lay off it,” Henderson said. “She had a couple of different pitches, but it wasn’t that hard.”

BP freshman Tessa Ivers helped keep the Blossoms in the game when she made a diving catch with a runner on second to end the fifth inning, but it wasn’t enough to get BP over the top.

Still, the Blossoms put up their best finish in school history by taking second and this year’s senior were part of a group that played in three straight state tournaments.

“Just to get here is unreal,” said Henderson, a senior catcher. “We had a great run and we have to proud of that. I don’t like losing, but we can’t feel bad about it. Blooming Prairie should be proud of us.”

BP landed three players on the All-State tournament team — Swenson, who finished with 20 and one-thirds of an inning pitched, 18 hits, three walks and two earned runs, while striking out 24, DeBoer, who finished 7-for-10 with one triple, three doubles and four runs and Sam Ivers, who finished 2-for-6 with a homer and two RBI.

Blooming Prairie pitcher Shelbi Swenson goes through her rotation at the Class 'A' state softball title game in North Mankato Friday. -- Rocky Hulne/

BP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 4 4

Cherry 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 4 1

BP pitching: Shelbi Swenson (L), 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 8 K

BP hitting: Tricia DeBoer, 1-for-4, triple, R; Jenna Krell, 0-for-2; Hunter Henderson, 1-for-3, RBI; Swenson, 1-for-3, double, SB; Kelsey Kubista, 0-for-3; Sam Ivers, 0-for-1, 3 SB, 2 BBs; Julia Manges, 0-for-3; Tessa Ivers, 1-for-3, SB; Kelsey Wolf, 0-for-3