The Forest Lake softball program doesn’t rest in the summer, as the 18U squad won the Minnesota Metro Fastpitch League state championship this past weekend in Elk River.
Head coach David Alto said the Ranger athletes put up strong, consistent performances all weekend to earn the title.
“The girls played fantastic,” Alto said. “We had wonderful pitching, pretty good defense, and our hitting was outstanding. For the girls to be a community team and be able to beat club teams and elite teams is just a credit to Forest Lake fast-pitch.”
Forest Lake opened tournament play last Saturday with a 4-1 win over Minnesota Impact.
Rachael Harrington recorded the win on the mound while Taylor Shortly went 2-4 with two RBIs to lead the offense.
Next, Forest Lake cruised past two opponents with a 14-1 win over Moose Emmons and an 11-3 win over the Minnesota Sting Elite.
Michelle LaCasse recorded three strikeouts in the four-inning win over Moose Emmons, while Brittany Frenette went 3-3 at the plate. Harrington earned the win over the Sting squad in just six innings due to time constraint. Mikayla Watters went 3-4 and both Alexa Bremer and Shortly went 2-4 to lead the batters.
The 3-0 record propelled the Ranger athletes into a semifinal matchup against The Danes.
The two undefeated teams battled into an extra inning tied at two apiece until Shortly singled to get on base. Bremer followed with an RBI single to give Forest Lake a one-run lead, when Chase Shortly doubled to bring Bremer home and put her squad up 4-2. Forest Lake’s defense held strong in the final half of the eighth inning for the win and trip to the title game.
LaCasse was the winning pitcher with six strikeouts, while giving up five hits. Natalie Wright went 3-4 on offense, followed by Chase Shortly and Cassie Schmitzke with two hits each.
Forest Lake faced the Minnesota Sting Elite again for the championship matchup and prevailed despite an early deficit.
The Ranger girls struggled to find their footing in the field, racking up three errors to give the Sting a 5-1 lead after the first inning. But Forest Lake turned things around defensively to shut out their opponent the remainder of the game.
Offensively, Forest Lake snuck back into the running with three runs in the third inning to close the gap at 5-4, then posted another run to tie things up at five in the fifth inning. Watters ripped an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning to give her squad a one-run lead, followed by an RBI hit by Schmitzke to put Forest Lake up 8-5 and close the scoring.
Harrington earned the 8-5 win on the mound with three strikeouts, while all players recorded at least one hit for Forest Lake, totaling 16 team hits. Watters went 4-5 in the title game.
Next, Forest Lake travels to Chaska to open the North American Fastpitch Association national tournament, starting this Thursday. Times and opponents are yet to be determined.