The weather was perfect for softball Friday at the state tournament held at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Photo: Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune
Claire Bakkestuen pitched a four-hit shutout, striking out nine, and Katie Gemuenden’s two-run double in the fifth inning broke open a close game as the top-seeded Rangers advanced to the semifinals. Abigail Drury and Grace Frechette had two hits apiece for Forest Lake (23-2). Abby Kemmetmueller doubled twice for St. Michael-Albertville (19-6),
The 2018 champion Ponies got their defense of their title off to a strong start, getting home runs from Torri Chute and Taylor Gray among their 11 base hits. Stillwater (19-9) scored a run in the second inning, three more in the third and put the game away on Gray’s two-run bomb in the fifth. Allison Benning earned the victory for Stillwater, going four innings and allowing two runs on one hit. Keira Murphy picked up the save.
The Tigers (15-10) scored twice in the top of the fifth inning, cutting the Stillwater margin to 4-2 at the time, before Gray’s home run. Farmington had a chance to cut into Stillwater’s lead in the sixth, but Morgan Ebel flew out with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Trailing by a run, East Ridge scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and rode the resulting lead to victory. Pitcher Abbey Cook allowed five hits, struck out four and didn’t allow an earned run for the Raptors (23-2), who are making their first state tournament appearance. Kaitlin Boyles, Josie Dorf and Grace Bennett each had two hits for the Raptors.
Eden Prairie (19-7) scored its only run in the top of the second inning as a result of three East Ridge errors.
Ava Dueck, the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, pitched a no-hitter for No. 2-seeded Maple Grove. Dueck struck out 12 and walked one for the Crimson (23-2), who scored single runs in the third and fourth innings off Edina (16-8) pitcher Genevieve Ovsak. Maple Grove had at least one base hit in every inning.