South to play for softball title

Just getting to the state tournament isn’t enough for Lakeville South’s softball team, which will play for the Class 3A championship Friday afternoon.

The Cougars (21-5), playing at state for the first time in their school’s nine-year history, will face Maple Grove (22-3) in the Class 3A final at 1:30 p.m. at Caswell Park in North Mankato.

South had one nail-biter and one blowout on its way to the championship game.

Jenna Uphoff scored on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth inning in South’s 2-1 victory over Orono in Thursday’s quarterfinal round. Uphoff was pinch-running for Kylie Stober, who drew a leadoff walk. Uphoff took second on Madison Rutter’s sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on Bailee Jackson’s single.

Isabella Laden had an RBI single in the fifth inning, tying the game 1-1. Jackson, Michaela Thielen and Alicia Young had two hits each.

Stober pitched all eight innings, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out 13. One of Orono’s hits was a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.

The Cougars routed Anoka 11-0 in a five-inning semifinal game. South scored eight runs in the top of the fifth inning, and the game ended by the 10-run rule when Anoka was unable to score in the bottom of the inning.

Amanda Bloomquist hit a grand slam in the fifth inning as South’s lead grew to 8-0. Stober and Rutter each drove in two runs, and Laden and Jackson had two hits each. Stober pitched a three-hit shutout with eight strikeouts.

This is the third consecutive state tournament appearance and fifth overall for Maple Grove, which was state Class 3A runner-up in 2006 and 2012. The Crimson defeated New Prague 6-0 and North St. Paul 4-1 in its first two games.