Park Center base runner Abby DeMorett (10) makes it to second base after Hermantown second baseman Macy Francisco is unable to field a ground ball during fourth inning action of Park Center's Class 2A state championship win. David Joles, Star Tribune
As Park Center players hammed it up for camera-toting parents after the Pirates’ second consecutive Class 2A championship game victory over Hermantown – this one 6-0 – a proud dad declared the team is getting pretty good at posing with trophies.
To do it again will be an even tougher challenge.
Park Center will compete in Class 3A next season, a move back up with the state’s biggest schools after enrollment numbers pushed the Pirates down to 2A for the past few years.
“I just go where they tell us,” coach Steve Ericson said. “The kids have seized this opportunity. And it’s pretty cool.”
The Pirates (26-4) got all the runs they needed in the bottom of the first inning when Kati Fern crushed a leadoff home run to right-center field. It was part of a perfect day at the plate for Fern, who collected four of Park Center’s 12 hits.
Nicola Tade, who threw a perfect game Thursday in the quarterfinals, allowed only one hit and one walk against the Hawks (18-7) on Friday.
Both players are juniors and will have no problem playing up one level, Ericson said.
“Kati’s been the straw that stirs the drink for us,” he said. “And Nicola proved this week she belongs with [3A] kids.”
Park Center base runner Kati Fern (4) scores after Abby DeMorett during fourth inning action of Park Center's win in the Class 2A state championship. David Joles, Star Tribune
Nicola Tade wasn't perfect Friday. But her performance in the circle coupled with clutch hitting lifted Park Center to its second consecutive Class 2A state championship after a 6-0 victory over Hermantown.
Tade, who threw a perfect game in the state quarterfinals on Thursday at Caswell Park, allowed just one hit and one walk in the championship game while striking out seven.
Kati Fern provided all the offense the Pirates would need in the bottom of the first inning when she clubbed a home run to right centerfield. Fern finished 4-for-4 in the game with a pair of RBI.
Katie Thun struck out six for the Hawks.