Park of Cottage Grove left fielder Corinna Loshek lost a sixth-inning drive in the sun, kept the ball alive with her throwing hand and made a juggling catch to end a Forest Lake threat. Photos by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Park of Cottage Grove sophomore Corinna Loshek insists she has not yet met a moment on the softball field that has been too big for her. On Tuesday, she passed each test Forest Lake, ranked No. 1 in the Class 4A coaches’ poll, set in front of her.
Loshek delivered with a two-out, two-strike RBI single in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie and then made a remarkable defensive play in the bottom of the sixth helping the No. 2-4A Wolfpack to a 2-1 Suburban East Conference victory.
With the win, Park (15-1, 12-1) grabbed a one-game lead over Forest Lake (9-2, 9-2) and East Ridge (11-2, 10-2) in the conference standings with the regular season winding down with just a week left. It was also the Wolfpack’s second one-run victory over Forest Lake in six days.
Loshek’s juggling catch of a hard-hit ball off the bat of Rangers center fielder Autumn Reid to end the sixth inning was symbolic of Park’s performance. A little bit unsteady, but ultimately up to the challenge.
Loshek said she lost the ball in the sun. However, she found it in time to bat it with her throwing hand away from her face and back into the air, giving her the chance to relocate the ball and make the catch. Ally Goehner, pinch running after Ryleigh Eischen singled to leadoff the inning, was in position to score the tying run had Loshek dropped the ball.
“It was a little scary,” Loshek admitted.
Park of Cottage Grove baserunner Hannah Schluetter slides in with what became the winning run in the Wolfpack's 2-1 victory at Forest Lake. Corinna Loshek's infield single brought Schluetter home in the fifth inning. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
For the second time in a week, Park of Cottage Grove beat Suburban East Conference rival Forest Lake by a single run in a duel between the state’s top-ranked Class 4A teams.
Park’s 2-1 win on Tuesday at Forest Lake (9-2, 9-2) came six days after a 1-0 victory on its home field and leaves the Wolfpack, ranked No. 2 in the Class 4A state coaches’ poll, alone atop the conference standings.
Sophomore Corinna Loshek made two big plays in the late innings to help the Wolfpack (15-1, 12-1) win their ninth consecutive game. She beat out a two-out infield ground ball that allowed Hannah Schluetter to score from third to give Park a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning, and then made a juggling catch near the left-field wall in the bottom of the sixth to end a No. 1-4A Rangers’ threat.
Forest Lake pitcher Claire Bakkestuen turned in a solid performance but took the loss. She pitched a complete game, surrendering just four hits, two walks and she struck out seven.
Bryanna Olson threw five innings to notch the win for Park and Samantha Fohrman pitched the last two innings for the save. Olson also had a pair of singles, and Madi Meduna doubled, scored and drew an intentional walk.
Rangers catcher Logan Anderson reached base on an error and scored the game’s first run on Ryleigh Eischen’s single in the first.
With Tuesday’s win, Park moved ahead of both Forest Lake and No. 5-4A East Ridge (11-2, 10-2) in the conference standings. The Wolfpack have an opportunity to gain more ground on Wednesday when they play at East Ridge.
Forest Lake's Claire Bakkestuen struck out seven and allowed only four hits in a complete game effort. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
The MN Softball Hub polls are for entertainment purposes only.