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Cathedral's Kristin Mohr, right, and pitcher Anna Mohr hugged after their win over New Life Academy (Kyndell Harkness/Star Tribune)
NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – New Ulm Cathedral catcher Karlee Pfaff waited all season for the perfect outfield assist.
Lindsay Simon scooped up the ball in shallow center field and one-hopped the throw to Pfaff in time to tag out what would have been the tying run in the sixth inning of Friday’s Class 1A state championship at Caswell Park.
The defensive spotlight was just one several that deflated New Life Academy of Woodbury throughout the afternoon and secured the Greyhounds’ state title with a 3-1 victory. It’s New Ulm Cathedral’s seventh state championship and first since 2007.
“I was just waiting for it. Perfect hop and I got it and laid down the tag,” Pfaff said. “You don’t want to see our practices. It’s all about defense. Our coach is a smart guy because he said it doesn’t matter how many runs you score, defense will win championships.”
The Greyhounds gave up only one run throughout the state tournament and scored 19. Pitcher Anna Mohr relied heavily on the defense after scattering 11 hits, walking one and striking out four on Friday. New Life Academy threatened to score in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings and left two runners on base in each of these frames.
New Ulm Cathedral was outhit, but came through with timely hits against Valerie Hohol. Jenessa Rothmeier led the effort going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Pfaff drove in two runs and Simon drove in one.
Malorie Giere led the Eagles with three hits. Hohol drove in their only run.
“We couldn’t quite string together that one hit,” to break through, Hohol said. “It hurts a little, but we also know we’re second out of hundreds of teams that would love to be in our position.”
New Life Academy finishes as state runner-up for the second straight year.