Ranger softball falls only to state champs, Elk River, during quest

Senior pitcher Michelle LaCasse winds up for a pitch to a Farmington batter during the first round of the state tournament last week.

Senior pitcher Michelle LaCasse winds up for a pitch to a Farmington batter during the first round of the state tournament last week. Photo by Kat Ladwig

 

The Forest Lake softball girls took third at the state tournament (Class AAA) Friday, June 7, following a four-run rally in the seventh inning to pull ahead of No. 2 Maple Grove for the win.

Maple Grove scored early on, taking a 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. But both teams remained scoreless through five until the Rangers found themselves in trouble defensively in the bottom of the sixth, when Maple Grove went on a short rally to bring in two more runs.

Down 3-0 heading into the top of the seventh inning, junior Natalie Wright singled. Junior Alexa Bremer hit a momentum-changing home run to bring the Rangers within one at 3-2. Senior Dana Mogren laced a single to left field to keep the rally going, and advanced to second base when senior Jenn Zidar walked, bringing in pinch runner sophomore Megan Gemuenden.

Junior Taylor Shortly laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners both into scoring position, then junior Mikayla Watters got the job done with a double down the left field line to bring home Mogren and Gemuenden for the tying and go-ahead runs.

The Forest Lake infield took care of business in the bottom of the seventh to seal the third-place win with a one-two-three inning.

Senior Michelle LaCasse pitched a complete game for the win, allowing eight hits and just one earned run in 30 batters faced.

Shortly and Watters were named to the Wells Fargo All-Tournament Team for Class AAA softball.

The Rangers began their quest for state last Thursday morning, facing Farmington in quarterfinals and winning 3-1, with LaCasse recording the victory.

Forest Lake went on to face Elk River later that day in the semifinals, but fell 9-3, placing the Rangers in the third-place title game.

Head coach Angie Ryan was unavailable for comment. The Rangers finished their season with a record of 24-3.

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