Softball: Blossoms make it four straight to state

Published 8:33 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Awesome Blossoms got a big boost off their bench as they clinched their fourth straight trip to the Class ‘A’ state softball tournament when they beat Hayfield 9-1 in the Section 1A title game in Todd Park Thursday.

BP tallied seven runs in the third inning and the biggest knock came from pinch hitter Ashley Krohnberg, who drilled a three-run double into left field with two outs to make it a 5-0 BP lead.

“I had hoped that I could get in. I’ve had hits like that this season,” Krohnberg said. “Having the bases loaded put more pressure on me, but I had confidence in myself. It’s pretty exciting and I can’t wait to get there.”

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The Vikings (14-9 overall) had some chances as they left the bases loaded in the fifth and left runners on first and second in fourth and sixth innings. BP pitcher Shelbi Swenson allowed six hits and hit five batters in the win.

“I didn’t mean to hit them so much. My pitching performance was real bad today, but I guess it was enough,” Swenson said. “Hayfield kind of had it out for us since last year, it was fun to get to play them. We’ve had a target on our back and they’ve kind of become our rivals.”

Swenson, Sam Ivers and Jenna Krell are all ending their senior seasons with BP (20-3 overall) making its fourth straight more trip to state, and they’re hoping to finish strong after taking second place last season in a 2-1 loss to Cherry.

“It’s amazing. I feel like this one is the sweetest because we really wanted to go out with a bang in our senior year. We worked really hard and it’s the greatest feeling ever,” Krell said. “Hayfield was a little bit of a rivalry for us this season and it feels good to beat them.”

BP head coach Ali Mach said her seniors helped lead the way for plenty of new players on the roster this season. She also said they’ve matured a lot since they were freshman.

“They started out doing this in ninth grade and I think every year they’ve improved,” Mach said. “They got that taste early and they really wanted it. They’ve been great leaders. We have a nice hard working bunch of girls and they’ve done a nice job.”

The Vikings won four straight elimination games to get to BP, but they just couldn’t stay in the game on Thursday. Hayfield will graduate just two seniors and it brings back its top three hitters in Dani Wagner, Jessie Foster and Grace Mindrup.

“We weren’t hitting as well as we have been. That inside pitch got us,” Hayfield head coach Jana Wagner said. “We have three young pitchers and next year could be our year. We’ll see.”

BP will open state tournament play against New Ulm Cathedral (17-5 overall) in Mankato next Thursday at 1 p.m.

“I know there were teams that doubted us, but we improved all the way through and we’re playing really good softball right now,” Mach said. “We’ve improved every year and there’s definitely some high expectations going into next week.”

BP 0 0 7 0 0 1 1 — 9 13 1

Hayfield 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 — 1 6 2

BP pitching: Shelbi Swenson (W), 7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 3 K, 5 HBP

BP hitting: Tessa Ivers, 4-for-4, R, BB; Jenna Krell, 2-for-3, 2 RBIs, R, BB; Sydney Heiber, 3-for-5; Swenson, 2-for-5, double, RBI, R; Sam Ivers, 0-for-3, RBI, R, BB; Madison Worke, 0-for-2, BB; Bria Baldwin, 1-for-3, R, BB; Megan O’Connor, 0-for-2, RBI, R; Mariah Holland, 0-for-3, 2 R; Abby Wayne, R; Elly Strunk, 0-for-1; Ashley Krohnberg, 1-for-1, double, 3 RBIs

Hayfield pitching: Jocelyn Sanvick (L), 2 2/3 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 7 ER, 3 K; Alyssa Monahan, 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 K

Hayfield hitting: Dani Wagner, 1-for-1, R, BB, 2 HBPs; Jessie Foster, 0-for-3; Grace Mindrup, 3-for-3, RBI; Bhrett Zahnle, 0-for-4; Rachel Masching, 0-for-3, HBP; Lezlie Sorensen, 0-for-4; Grace Walker, 1-for-1, 2 HBPs; Kailee Siemers, 1-for-3; Monahan, 0-for-3