Northfield outfielder Anika Guggisberg (0) was safe at home as Mankato West catcher Bri Stoltzman (11) tried to stop the run. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky ¥ firstname.lastname@example.org
This was the game — and the opponent — Northfield had wanted. And the Raiders didn’t waste any time making their intentions known.
They made their first state tournament appearance a memorable one, scoring five runs in the first inning and two more in the second. Then they rode the rocket arm of sophomore pitcher Brynn Hostettler the rest of the way to a 7-3 victory over Mankato West in the Class 3A championship game.
Northfield and Mankato West are Big Nine Conference rivals. West (25-2), the tournament’s top seed, won the conference title and had defeated Northfield 5-1 during the regular season. But the second-seeded Raiders felt like they hadn’t played their best in that game and were itching to get the chance for redemption.
“That’s who we wanted to play in the championship — West,” said senior shortstop Jillian Noel, one of four Raiders with two or more hits in the game. “We knew from the beginning of the year we wanted to beat them. And we knew we could.”