NORTH MANKATO -- The Edgerton/Southwest Christian and Pipestone Area high school softball programs have had ample experience at Minnesota state tournaments over the past decade. No one can tell just how much the past ties in with the present, but here they are again -- the Flying Dutchmen and the Arrows representing the southwest corner of the state in the 2021 state tourney.
Edgerton/Southwest Christian won the Section 3A championship in Marshall on Thursday with an 11-4 victory over Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. And also in Marshall, Pipestone Area won the Section 3AA championship with double victories over Litchfield 5-2 and 8-3.
The state tournament is Tuesday and Wednesday at Caswell Park in North Mankato. There is no consolation bracket this year, so the Dutchmen and the Arrows will need to play sharp right off the bat.
E/SWC, because it entered Thursday’s championship without a loss in the double-elimination tourney, needed only to beat KMS once to gain state. And the Dutchmen played a smart game to get it done.
“For the most part, we played very, very good defense. Addison threw a good game and we really made the plays behind her,” said veteran E/SWC head coach Andrew Fleischman. “The bottom of our lineup really did a nice job.”
Addison, the coach’s daughter, pitched the full seven innings allowing six hits, walking two and striking out six. Only one of the runs she allowed was earned.
Coach Fleischman said he’s seen his team grow a lot this year, especially on defense. Lately, the Dutchmen are hitting the ball well, and they’ve seen different parts of their lineup carrying the team at different moments.
“The nice thing about us, we feel that one through nine we have a lot of balanced hitters,” said the coach.
Edgerton/Southwest Christian will take a 19-3 record into the state tourney. The team has won 10 straight games and is ranked No. 10 in Minnesota Class A.
The Dutchmen, seeded No. 1 in the south half of Section 3A, defeated KMS 14-1 in five innings in its final winner’s bracket contest. KMS beat Wabasso 10-7 on Tuesday to get its rematch with E/SWC.
Meanwhile, Pipestone Area had to get to state the hard way. The Arrows, seeded No. 1 in the south bracket of the section, lost to St. James Area 7-4 in their final winner’s bracket game, but beat the Saints on Tuesday 9-3 to advance to the finals. They are 25-3 now, and ranked No. 10 in Class AA.