Pitcher Chloe Barber has led White Bear Lake to a 21-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A softball state tournament. (Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine)
White Bear Lake had not qualified for the softball state tournament since 2002 until winning the Class 4A, Section 4 title with a 6-5 victory over Stillwater last Thursday.
The Bears (21-3) lack the pedigree of others in the state tournament, but they are getting noticed. Led by All-Metro pitcher Chloe Barber, their success this season earned them the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A bracket, and they will play unseeded Lakeville South (14-10) in the quarterfinals.
In other Class 4A quarterfinals, undefeated Brainerd (24-0) was seeded No. 2 and will play East Ridge (17-6), which ended Rosemount’s bid for a second consecutive state title by beating the Irish in the Section 3, finals; Chanhassen (21-1), behind Metro Player of the Year Sydney Schwartz, is No. 3 and will face unseeded Hopkins (17-6); and No. 4 seed Forest Lake (19-5), the third Suburban East Conference team in the field, plays No. 5 seed Centennial (18-5).
In Class 3A, a new champion is assured because 2021 champ Becker was eliminated by Monticello in the Section 5 final.
The top two seeds hail from the Big Nine Conference: No. 1 Winona (21-1) and No. 2 Mankato West (20-4). St. Anthony (23-2) picked up the No. 3 seed, Chisago Lakes (20-4) is the No. 4 seed, and Benilde-St. Margaret’s (14-7) is No. 5. Monticello, Simley and Rocori are unseeded.
Proctor (22-1) received the No. 1 seed in Class 2A, while defending champion Le Sueur-Henderson (20-3) is seeded No. 2. Chatfield (25-2) is seeded No. 3, Maple Lake (22-2) is the No. 4 seed, and St. Cloud Cathedral (24-2) is No. 5. Unseeded Mounds Park Academy, Pipestone and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton round out the field.
In Class 1A, defending champion Randolph (20-4) has won 16 of its past 17 games and is seeded No. 3. Nicollet (21-2) was awarded the No. 1 seed, Moose Lake-Willow River (24-4) is No. 2, Red Lake Falls (24-1) is seeded fourth, and Edgerton/SW Christian (17-6) is No. 5. Menahga, Wabasha-Kellogg and Upsala are unseeded.
The tournament begins Thursday and concludes Friday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
The quarterfinals begin with Class 4A at 9 a.m. and run through 1 p.m. Semifinals are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., with the final set of games scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Friday’s finals begin with Class 4A at 1 p.m. with the other three finals starting at half-hour intervals: Class 3A at 1:30 p.m., 2A at 2 p.m. and 1A at 2:30 p.m.