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Anna Pipenhagen returns from Elk River's state Class 3A championship team last season. Photo by Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

The temperatures last week were more suited for football or, more appropriately for these two schools, it felt more like hockey season.

The Northwest Suburban Conference already has a feel it is going to produce several quality softball teams. Blaine and Elk River should be battling for that top spot in the standings come season's end.

The Elks are the defending state Class 3A champions and  remain flawless through their first three games, breezing past their opponents by a combined score of 25-3. The last loss Elk River had was to Maple Grove, 2-1 on May 18, 2013.

In the only game these teams played a year ago, Elk River handled the Bengals 14-2. If senior Anna Pipenhagen takes the hill for the Elks, it could be a tough afternoon for Blaine, as the All-State pitcher seems to have began 2014 where she left off a year ago.

The Bengals are a young team this year, so maybe youth could be bliss against the experienced and battle-tested Elks.

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