There is no bigger moment in a state championship game than when a fly ball is creeping up on the outfield fence in extra innings.
Nicollet’s Brooklyn Bode rose to the occasion – quite literally.
Protecting a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning in the Class A state title game Friday, Sandra Ribich launched a deep ball to center field that looked destined to be a title-winning two-run, walk-off shot for Moose Lake/Willow River.
Bode had other ideas.
“I saw the ball going, and I knew I had to catch it, otherwise we weren’t going to be playing anymore,” she said. “I didn’t have any idea where the fence was, actually. I thought I had lots of room in the field.”
Nope. She banged up against the fence, reached her arm up and pulled the ball back in for the first out of the inning. Nicollet then closed the door to win its first state title in any sport via the 3-2 victory.
Marah Hulke threw five innings of shutout, one-hit ball for Nicollet. Hulke batted in two runs, including the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Randolph topped Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian 6-3 in the Class A third-place game. Carly Kimmes and Allie Gillette each drove in a pair of runs for the Rockets, while Carter Raymond threw a complete-game four-hitter, striking out 11.
Breck Carlson saw the ground ball heading up the middle, and knew she had to stop it.
There was too much on the line not to. With the bases juiced and two outs in the fourth inning, Mankato West’s 2-1 lead was in serious jeopardy. A hit would’ve tied the game, and maybe given Winona the lead.
We’ll never know.
Because Carlson made a diving play to stop the ball. She looked up at second baseman Malani Schoper and didn’t think she could make the flip. So instead Carlson crawled over to tag the bag and end the inning.
“Just knew I had to do everything I could to get over there,” Carlson said. “State championship game, got to do everything we can to make the play.”
It was the play that powered the Scarlets to their 5-1 title game victory over Winona.
The win avenged Mankato West’s semifinal loss to its conference rival at last year’s state tournament.
“Obviously, we knew it was going to be us and them pretty much – ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the state,” Carlson said.
And this time, it was the Scarlets who reigned supreme. Abigail Stierlen scattered seven hits in the complete-game win in the circle.
Chisago Lakes topped Simley 8-2 in the third-place game. Ashley Mandell threw a complete game, two-hitter for Chisago Lakes, striking out 16 batters. Samantha Johnson had three hits for Chisago Lakes, while Melanie Anderson drove in three runs.
St. Anthony Village beat Benilde-St. Margaret’s 10-0 in the consolation final.
Chatfield scored three times in the first frame Friday against Proctor to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
But the Gophers logged just one hit over the final six innings.
No matter, the early run support was enough for Claire Springer, who scattered eight hits to preserve Chatfield’s 3-2 victory and the state title.
Madison Walsh threw a two-hitter for Proctor in defeat.
Maple Lake beat Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 6-0 in the third-place game.