C-FC softball and baseball eliminated from playoffs
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Daily News Staff
The Cochrane-Fountain City softball team encountered a familiar foe in Thursday’s WIAA Division 4 Regional Finals, and unfortunately for Pirates fans, history repeated itself.
Sixth-seeded C-FC saw their season end in an 11-3 loss to seventh-seeded Osseo-Fairchild, after both teams had first-round upsets for the second straight season .
Last spring, the seventh-seeded Thunder defeated sixth-seeded C-FC 19-9 and the Pirates have now been eliminated in the regional title game for the past three seasons.
The Pirates (16-8) had been formidable in the final weeks of the season, winning nine of their last 10 games heading into Thursday, but Osseo-Fairchild were strong early on.
The Thunder (13-8) scored four runs in the first inning, including a three-run homer to left field by senior Rae Prudlick and never hung the rest of the way.
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C-FC junior pitcher Bella Holzer settled in over the next three innings, holding OF scoreless and collecting five strikeouts.
However, the Pirates’ previously hot bats remained cool as they struggled to adapt to senior Katie Skoug’s style.
“Today we were a lot out of breath. I thought over and over again, ‘we’re going to break this one, let’s break this one.’ It just didn’t happen,” said C-FC head coach Steve Lyga.
The Thunder scored two runs in the top of the fifth to make it 6-0, then the Pirates got on the board in the bottom of the fifth with senior Kourtney Foley leading rookie Mackenzie Wenger with a single for a 6- 1.
Osseo-Fairchild kept hitting from there, adding three in the sixth and two in the seventh to take the lead to 11-1.
C-FC ended the season on a high with two points, but it wasn’t enough for a miraculous comeback. Freshman Caitlyn Bissen scored on Cadence Wenger senior’s pick of a defender, and Wenger headed home on a Foley brace.
While Foley and Cadence Wenger were an important senior pair, the Pirates had a young team overall, with two freshmen in this year’s starting lineup and pitching ace Holzer returning next season.
“It’s been a great year, 16-8 with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores,” Lyga said. “For them to get out and play softball and continue to mature as student-athletes, that will help them in their future.”
(1) Winona 17, (5) Stewartville 3
The top-seeded Winhawks (18-2) cruised to victory in their first playoff game after a first-round bye, beating the fifth-seeded Tigers (9-8) by 14 runs in five innings during a Section 1AAA tournament match in Austin.
Winona scored early and often, with four runs in the first inning and three more in the second. After a scoreless third, the Winhawks put the game away with a 10-point rally in the fourth.
Stewartville had three runs in the top of the fifth to break its drought, but all three were inconclusive on senior Ava Hamsund’s record, who allowed seven no-walk hits and seven strikeouts in the victory.
Winona’s top three hitters each had three hit days to lead the offense, with Hamsund going 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored, Makayla Steffes senior at 3 for 3 with a walk, a double, two RBI and four runs scored and Macy McNally senior at 3 on 4 with a double, two triples, two runs scored and five RBIs.
With the win, the Winhawks advance to the Section 1AAA semifinals where they will face double-seeded Byron (15-4) in a battle of state-ranked teams on Wednesday in Austin.
Winona is second in the state on this week’s Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 10 rankings, while Byron rounds out the list at 10th.
The two teams met at the start of the regular season, with Winona earning a 4-0 win at home on April 10.
(1) St. Charles 6, (2) Cotter 2
(4) La Crescent-Hokah 2, (2) Cotter 1
The Ramblers (16-5) lost two games in the Division 1AA tournament to see their season end.
On Tuesday, Cotter head coach Pat Bowlin tied Minnesota State’s coaching record with 802 wins, and with Thursday’s pair of losses, he will remain tied with the retired coach. of New Ulm Cathedral, Bob Mertz, until next season.
Cotter got off to a strong start in the subsection title game against the Saints (21-2), scoring two runs in the top of the first inning on a two-run single by eighth-grader Ella Deets.
St. Charles, which ranks as the top Class AA team by the MFCA, scored three runs late in the first and led the rest of the way.
In the consolation bracket, the Ramblers lost a matchup with a lower-ranked La Crescent-Hokah (17-6) team that faced them twice in the regular season.
LC-H had two runs in the top of the third, and Cotter could only score once in the bottom of the fifth with freshman Savy Repinski driving fellow freshman Camrie Macal.
Lancers pitchers Addie Murilla and Kaitlyn Miller combined to allow just two hits and three walks, with Bowlin crediting the solid play of the LC-H defense for preventing multiple hits with runners on base.
(6) GET 8, (11) Northern Pines 4
The sixth-seeded RedHawks (13-10) scored six runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take control of their home court and beat 11-seeded Northland Pines to advance to the WIAA Division 2 Regional Tournament .
GET will visit third-ranked West Salem in the regional semi-finals on Tuesday.
Collin Handke pitched six innings for GET, striking out eight batters and allowing just three hits. Jack Beedle went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs and Calvin Davis went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
(9) Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 8, (8) C-FC 5
The Pirates (8-12) rode their 8-seeded 9-9 clash in extra innings but lost to an offensive outburst from the Royals (7-11) to end C-FC’s season at the first round of the regional division 4. tournament.
Each team had three runs through the first seven innings at Fountain City, but Assumption opened the game with a five-run rally in the top of the eighth inning. C-FC’s bats came to life late in the period, scoring twice, but not enough to close the deficit.
Big 9 Conference Championship
Winona played in the Big 9 Conference title game at North Links Golf Course in Mankato on Thursday, finishing eighth out of 12 teams.
As a team, the Winhawks shot a 389 to beat Rochester Century’s 393 but behind Red Wing’s 372. Owatonna won the competition at 330, beating runner-up Northfield 339.
Winona was led by junior Marin Keller, who shot a 90 in a three-way tie for 16th to earn a spot on the all-conference team for the third consecutive season.
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