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Softball: North girls headed to state tournament
Polars shutout Woodbury Royals; next stop North Mankato
North 7 - Woodbury 0
In the finals of the Section 4AAA softball tournament May 29 at the McKnight Fields softball complex, the No. 1-seeded North High Polars defeated the Woodbury Royals 7-0 to gain a trip to the Minnesota State Class AAA Softball Tournament.
The tournament will be held May 5-6 at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
The Polars last made the trip to the state tournament in 2011. This will be the team’s 12th trip; in their 11 previous appearances they have claimed the title on two occasions and have been runners-up five times.
North (22-4) will play its first game June 5 at 11 a.m. against the Section 3AAA winner, Bloomington Jefferson (20-3).
Following the win over Woodbury, North head coach Cliff Charpentier stated, “I don’t know what to say right now. It is kind of an emotional time.
“But just like all the games in the sections, this was a complete team win. Everyone contributed. I thought Haley (Schanks, North pitcher) did a great job. She hung in there tough when she had to and got the outs when we needed them most.
“But overall it was a great game for us, and I’m proud of every one of our girls,” Charpentier said. The trip to the state tournament is the first for Charpentier as head coach.
The shutout win was not without some fingernail-biting moments. Twice - in the top of both the sixth and seventh innings - the Royals left the bases loaded. In all they left 10 runners on the base paths.
The North line score was 7-14-1-7.
Schanks gave the opposition just five hits. She had eight strikeouts, issued three walks, hit one batter and had one wild pitch.
In the second inning, the Polars put the winning run on the board. Erin Jungmann - two-for-three and two runs - led off and worked a walk. Julia Tanzer bunted her to second. Carli Langevin - three-for-three and two runs - cracked a single to left.
When the ball was bobbled, Langevin went to second. Mady Strom singled to right, and Langevin came home to make it 2-0 North.
In their half of the third the Polars put four more tallies on the board. Lily Langevin worked a walk. Katelyn Stepaniak sacrificed and beat the peg. Schanks then bunted the pair up the base paths.
Jungman cracked a single up the middle to score Lily Langevin. Tanzer knocked a ball to the right side, and Stepaniak came home. Carli Langevin sent a single to left and Jungmann crossed the plate. Megan Rubbelke then slashed a double to the center-field barrier, and Carli Langevin scored to run the tally to 6-0.
In the last of the sixth Lily Langevin led off with a single up the middle. Stepaniak - three-for-four - sent a ball to the center-field fence for a RBI double, and the Polars had the 7-0 victory and a trip to the state tournament.
Wally Wakefield can be reached at email@example.com.