St. Cloud holds on for victory in title game
Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville came up just short of its second state CI (cognitive impairments) Division adapted softball championship, falling to St. Cloud 10-7 in the championship game Saturday at Coon Rapids High School.
The Blazing Cats, who won the state title in 2013, battled St. Cloud in a game that featured 32 hits and some big fielding plays as the Sluggers preserved their lead. St. Cloud recorded five outs at third base during the title game.
The Blazing Cats, the No. 2 seed from the South conference, finished 11-3.
St. Cloud’s softball program had been inactive for seven years because of a lack of funding. The Sluggers returned this year and went 10-2 in the regular season. They received the fourth seed from the North conference in the state tournament but opened by knocking off the South’s top seed, Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee, 17-14.
Blazing Cats eighth-grader Natalya Rawley had a three-run homer in the second inning, cutting St. Cloud’s lead to 6-5, but Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville could never grab the lead.
St. Cloud won its first state championship and became the first outstate team to win the CI Division tournament.
The Blazing Cats routed Anoka-Hennepin 18-6 in five innings in the semifinals earlier Saturday. C.J. Weydert, a junior, was 3-for-3 with a home run and scored three runs. Ninth-grader Carlos Jackson also had three hits and scored three times.
Kombe Khawi, Matt Luetkemeyer and Jackson had run-scoring singles in the third inning of Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville’s 10-6 quarterfinal victory Friday over North Suburban, the defending CI Division champion. The RBI singles were part of a four-run inning that turned a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead.
Weydert, Cobi Vettrus and Lucas Petrich represented the Blazing Cats on the all-tournament team.
Dakota United’s bid to repeat at PI (physical impairments) Division state champion ended with an 11-1 loss to Anoka-Hennepin in the state semifinals Saturday. The Hawks completed a 10-6 season with a 16-13 loss to Rochester in the third-place game.
Dakota United, a co-op program that includes Apple Valley, Eagan, Eastview and Rosemount high schools, defeated Osseo 13-3 in five innings in the quarterfinal round Friday. Samuel Gerten, a seventh-grader, was 3-for-4 with three RBI.
The Hawks had leads of 3-0 and 8-4 in the third-place game but couldn’t hold off a Rochester comeback. Gerten had another big game for Dakota United with four hits and four runs.
Hawks infielders Riley Wisniewski and Cooper Chelstrom were named to the all-tournament team.
All six of Dakota United’s losses were to teams that finished in the top three at the state tourney.
Dakota United, which has won three PI Division adapted softball championships and finished second four times, appears to be in position to compete for titles several years into the future. Only two Hawks on this year’s roster are seniors and more than half the players are ninth-graders or younger.
Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville made its first appearance in the state PI Division tournament, losing both its games to finish 5-7. Eventual champion Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka beat the Blazing Cats 15-2 in five innings in the quarterfinals. Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville edged Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville 11-10 in the consolation bracket semifinals.
Contact Mike Shaughnessy at [email protected]