Swenson lifts Blossoms to state title game

Published 11:06 pm Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blooming Prairie's Bria Baldwin tries to beat out an infield hit as Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg's Lyndsay Jorgenson awaits the throw in the Awesome Blossoms' 1-0 win in the Class 'A' state semifinals in North Mankato Thursday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Blooming Prairie’s Bria Baldwin tries to beat out an infield hit as Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg’s Lyndsay Jorgenson awaits the throw in the Awesome Blossoms’ 1-0 win in the Class ‘A’ state semifinals in North Mankato Thursday. — Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

NORTH MANKATO — Blooming Prairie senior pitcher Shelbi Swenson had plenty of distractions when she took to the circle in the Class ‘A’ state softball semifinals at Caswell Park in North Mankato Thursday.

Swenson was pitching against a team she suffered a concussion with in an 11-5 loss as a sophomore at the state tournament and she was also playing against one of her summer softball teammates and friends.

Swenson shook off everything as she knocked in BP’s lone run and struck out 12 in a 1-0 win over Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg (23-1 overall) to put BP in the state title game.

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“I’m always pretty focused. You don’t see me show a lot expressions on the mound,” Swenson said. “I felt in a groove today and I felt like all of my pitches were working. That’s the first time I’ve felt like that in a long time.”

KMS pitcher Erin Haglund played shortstop for Swenson this past summer on the Danes, a softball team based out of the Twin Cities, but on Thursday Swenson was in the batter’s box against Haglund and she made it count. After Sydney Heiber singled and advanced to third base with two outs in the bottom of the first, Swenson drilled a double to score a run.

KMS was one of the top scoring teams in the state this season as the Fighting Saints averaged 11 runs per game. They had a runner on third in the fifth with one out and Swenson struck out back to back hitters and KMS had runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth and Swenson came up with another strikeout.

“Shelbi pitched amazing today,” BP senior catcher Sam Ivers said. “I think this is the best game I’ve caught for her. They’re a good team, but she threw around them and we threw a lot more risers than usual.”

BP (22-3 overall), which will play New Life Academy for the Class ‘A’ state title Friday at 1:30 p.m., had a chance to score another run, but Madison Worke was thrown out at home plate in the second.

“I was hoping we would get more runs,” BP head coach Ali Mach said “I thought we should have two runs, but apparently the umpire didn’t agree with me. We knew it would be difficult to get runs.”

Swenson remembered losing to KMS, which had five players remaining from two years ago, as a sophomore and the game was actually played on the same field as the matchup from 2011. But she wasn’t going to let it get to her.

“It was definitely in my memory, but I don’t have a anything against them,” Swenson said. “They’re a good team and I have a really good friend on that team.”

BP now has its eyes on its first state title in school history and the Blossoms are coming in hungry after losing the title game to Cherry 2-1 last season.

“We’re psyched,” Ivers said. “We’re playing in the last possible game you can play in. We’re going to stay focused and not get overworked.”

KMS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 5 1

BP 1 0 0 0 0 0 X — 1 4 0

BP pitching: Shelbi Swenson (W), 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 12 K

BP hitting: Tessa Ivers, 0-for-3; Jenna Krell, 1-for-3; Sydney Heiber, 1-for-3, R; Swenson, 1-for-3, double, RBI; Sam Ivers, 0-for-3; Madison Worke, 0-for-1, BB; Bria Baldwin, 0-for-1; Megan O’Connor, 0-for-2; Mariah Holland, 1-for-2