PREP SOFTBALL: The tradition continues: Pipestone Area wins Section 3AA for 5th consecutive year

MARSHALL -- Hitting is contagious for the Pipestone Area softball team. The Arrows just needed someone to come up with that first big hit. And with Thursday's Section 3AA championship game still scoreless in the third inning, Jesse Gergen deliver...

PA's Woelber
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Pipestone Area's Brooke Woelber connects on an RBI single during the third inning of Thursday's Section 3AA championship softball game in Marshall.

MARSHALL -- Hitting is contagious for the Pipestone Area softball team.

The Arrows just needed someone to come up with that first big hit.

And with Thursday's Section 3AA championship game still scoreless in the third inning, Jesse Gergen delivered that spark.

Gergen finished 3-for-4 and drove in three runs as the Arrows defeated Redwood Valley 7-0 to advance to their fifth consecutive state tournament.

"I'm kind of like in shock right now," Gergen said. "It's such a great feeling. I know the group of seniors, and I'm one of them, it just feels that more awesome. We played so well as a team. Bailey (Bouman) was pitching great and we were hitting the ball."


PA went down in order in the first two innings, but with two outs in the third, Gergen came to the plate.

"I just needed to be relaxed," Gergen said. "I think that's what everyone needed to do. She wasn't too fast of a pitcher, but she was consistent and we just needed to relax and hit the ball."

Gergen came through in the clutch.

She hit a two-run single to plate both Amber Haupert and Emily Darveaux, giving PA a 2-0 lead.

But the Arrows weren't done yet.

Brooke Woelber then followed with an RBI single as the Arrows took a three-run lead.

"Jesse Gergen came up with a good hit right before me, so it kind of takes the pressure off a little bit," Woelber said. "I know that every single person that's on my team that's in the batting order could come up with a big hit like that. It's kind of a ripple effect for all of us. Everyone is capable of coming up with that big hit."

Those three runs proved to be the difference.


"I thought we were a little tight the first few innings," PA head coach Troy Bouman said. "We had a little talk before the one inning and said, 'Hey, we need to relax and enjoy what we're doing and have fun. The pressure is on them to win the first game.' I thought we relaxed and Gergen got the big hit to get us two and we ended up getting three in that inning. It seems like if we can get a lead and get a little bit comfortable, we really hit the ball a lot better.

"When we hit, it's very contagious."

The way Bailey Bouman was throwing, three runs would be more than enough.

The senior right-hander allowed no runs on two hits while striking out 14.

"I just hit my spots and used all my pitches; we've been doing it all year," Bailey Bouman said. "Pete (assistant coach Robert Petersen) and Paige (Petersen) called a great game and I just put it where they tell me to."

Both Bailey and the Arrows were facing the Cardinal team for the fourth time.

PA is now 4-0 against them.

"The familiarity with everybody becomes such a big deal," Troy Bouman said. "You come up and they know how to pitch each kid or to pitch around this one. For an offense, for us, it makes it tough because they aren't going to give certain hitters anything to hit. It's very difficult. It comes down to the little things and doing the little things right. We did enough little things (Thursday) and got the key hits at the right time."


The last time the two teams met was Saturday. RV had the Arrows on the ropes before a key hit by Taylor Swenson propelled PA to a 5-2 victory.

"We played them on Saturday and we didn't feel like we hit as well as we could, so we worked on it in practice," Bailey Bouman said. "We came out and we wanted to do things differently. I feel as a team, we hit pretty good."

On Thursday, the Cardinals were able to get a bunt single in the first inning and had a single in the fourth for their only hits in the game.

"It seems when the defense doesn't have to do much, that's a good thing for Bailey because she's pitching awesome," Gergen said. "She's doing that right now and hopefully she'll keep it up."

But when the Arrow defense was called upon, it made the most of the opportunities.

"The seven I have behind me and Paige are phenomenal," Bailey Bouman said. "The bench is unreal, they are with you every step of the way. It's a great team effort. You can't do anything without your team."

With Bailey Bouman and the Arrow defense on cruise control, the PA offense was still looking for more runs late in the game.

Petersen singled in the sixth and her courtesy runner, Abbey Taubert, scored on a Bailey Bouman double, pushing the lead to 4-0.


Darveaux (running for Bouman) scored on an error and Swenson was plated by a Gergen single as PA took a six-run lead.

"It was a good day for me," Gergen said. "We practiced her style of pitching in batting practice and it really helped."

Emily Larson reached on an error in the seventh and would later score on pinch-hitter Peyten Petersen's triple, as PA advanced to its fifth straight state tournament.

"I don't think it ever gets old, but each year it gets harder and harder," Troy Bouman said. "The target has been on our back for a long time in the section and these girls keep coming through and keep fighting. Everybody in our conference and section is just getting better and better. Redwood is going to be an excellent team. They do all the little things right. We just got the big hits when we needed and got things rolling and scored some runs."

PA will face Hermantown at 1 p.m. on Thursday at Caswell Park in Mankato in the first round of the Class AA state tournament.

"It's always fun to go out with a bang," Woelber said. "State is one of those memories that you never forget and you always take with you. The opportunity to go back and take it with me for my senior year is just great. I think everyone feels like that, too."


PA 003 003 1 -- 7 10 1


RV 000 000 0 -- 0 2 3

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