Hawks fall in third-place game

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. -- On a windy day at Caswell Park, Chelsey Evans took the wind out of Hermantown's sails. The Pipestone Area senior pitcher tossed a four-hitter and struck out 14 as the Arrows defeated the Hawks 2-0 in a semifinal of the Min...

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. -- On a windy day at Caswell Park, Chelsey Evans took the wind out of Hermantown's sails.

The Pipestone Area senior pitcher tossed a four-hitter and struck out 14 as the Arrows defeated the Hawks 2-0 in a semifinal of the Minnesota Class AA state high school softball tournament Thursday morning. The game was played in sustained 25-30 mph winds with gusts reaching 40 mph.

The Hawks (21-5) closed their first state tournament since 2005 by losing 5-0 to Becker in the third-place game.

Pipestone scored both runs in the first inning on a Megan Mullen wild pitch, then didn't have a baserunner the rest of the game.

"Against good competition, it's tough to dig a hole," Hawks coach Tom Bang said. "It's not the way you'd like to start. But we were certainly really tough after that."


Bailey Bouman and Evans each singled, and Bouman moved to third base on a force out. A wild 3-2 pitch to Nicole Buysse scored Bouman, with Brooke Henderson coming home when the Hawks tried to throw out Buysse running to second base.

"That's all it really takes," Mullen said. "We needed to keep our heads in there and we just panicked for that one inning."

Mullen, a sophomore, settled down after that, retiring the final 16 batters to finish with a two-hitter, eight strikeouts and one walk.

Meanwhile, Hermantown was unable to pierce the Arrows' defense. The Hawks managed just five baserunners and never more than two in any inning.

"We needed to string our hits together," Mullen said. "We had three runners in scoring position and we couldn't get that hit to drive them in."

Evans had a lot to do with that, making the Hawks chase a riseball that ended up around the batter's shoulders.

"She beat us with the riseball," said sophomore second baseman Julia Gilbert, who had two of Hermantown's four hits.

"We couldn't hit it, and couldn't stay off of it," Bang said. "We needed one ball in the gap to give ourselves a chance."


A crosswind blowing from right field to left field didn't hurt Evans, who pitched all 17 innings in Pipestone's 1-0 win over St. Anthony Village in the 2007 title game.

"It helps my ball spin a certain way, but we've been used to it this spring because we've had a lot of crappy weather," she said.

Class AA Semifinals

Pipestone Area 2, Hermantown 0

At North Mankato. WP: Chelsey Evans 7IP, 4H, 0ER, 14K, 0BB. LP: Megan Mullen 6IP, 2H, 2ER, 8K, 1BB. PA: scored both runs in 1st on wild pitch. H: Julia Gilbert 2x3; Mullen retired final 16 batters.



Kristen Fah tossed a four-hitter and struck out 10 as the Bulldogs won the third-place game.


Rachel Gilbert's three-run home run in the third inning was the difference. Jessie Althoff's double scored Fah with an insurance run in the fifth.

Julia Gilbert had half of the hits for the Hawks, who ended the season on a 15-inning scoreless streak.

"We're really disappointed," Julia Gilbert said. "Our goal was to get to the state championship game."

Class AA Third Place

Becker 5, Hermantown 0

At North Mankato. WP: Kristen Fah 7IP, 4H, 0ER, 10K, 0BB. LP: Megan Mullen 6IP, 7H, 4ER, 13K, 2BB. B (26-2): Rachel Gilbert 3-R HR in 3rd; Jessie Althoff RBI 2B in 5th; Jessie Hamann 2B. H (21-5): Julia Gilbert 2H, 2SB.




The Irish ousted the Vikings from the Class A championship round by scoring single runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings to overcome an early deficit in the semifinal game.

Ashley Kempenich tossed a three-hitter and struck out 16, shaking off Whitney Junker's RBI double in the opening inning, to send Maple Lake to its first championship game. Vikings senior pitcher Kelly Hams threw a five-hit complete game, struck out four and scored her team's only run.

Class A Semifinals

Maple Lake 3, Littlefork-Big Falls 1

At North Mankato. WP: Ashley Kempenich 7IP, 3H, 1ER, 16K, 3BB. LP: Kelly Hams 6IP, 5H, 4K, 0BB. ML: Laura Dombrovski 2x3; Amanda Horst RBI. LBF: Whitney Junker 2B, RBI; Hams R.


The Rabbits jumped to a 7-0 lead and held on to take third place.

Ashley Fenneren earned the victory despite allowing five runs on five hits in the bottom of the seventh. Kelly Hams and Whitney Junker followed Kristi Bloom's RBI double with two-out, two-run singles to draw the Vikings (20-7) within two runs, but a fly out to left field ended the game.


Class A Third Place

Wabasso 7, Littlefork-Big Falls 5

At North Mankato. WP: Ashley Fenneren 7IP, 9H, 5ER, 6K, 2BB. LP: Kellly Hams 3.2IP, 11H, 7ER. W (25-3): scored 5 runs in 3rd; Abby Carlson 2x3 (2B); Morgan Samyn 2x3; Alonna Baune 2x3, 2R; Fenneren 2x2, 3RBIs. LBF (20-7): Whitney Junker 2x4 (2B), 2RBIs; Hams 2RBIs; Kristi Bloom RBI 2B.


What To Read Next
Get Local