Mabel-Canton girls capture sub-section softball championship


LEE EPPS/NEWS LEADER Kenidi McCabe steals second base while Fillmore Central/Lanesboro shortstop Kjerstiana Corson awaits the throw. The Mabel-Canton sophomore would soon score the sixth run as the Cougars built a 7-0 lead in the second inning of the sub-section title game at Wabasha.

LEE EPPS/NEWS LEADER Cougar freshman Emily Carolan sends a pitch to the plate during her two-hit, no-earned-run performance in the sub-section championship game.

LEE EPPS/NEWS LEADER The celebration begins for Mabel-Canton after defeating Fillmore Central/Lanesboro in the subsection championship game at Wabasha.
By: 
Chad Smith

For the second time in three years, Mabel-Canton (coached by Kati Bergey) has won the sub-section softball championship. Coming in as the No. 2 seed, the Cougars advanced with a home 14-4 quarterfinal win over No. 7 seed Southland on May 20. They picked up a home 7-4 semi-final win over No. 3 seed Goodhue on May 21. The girls added a 9-2 win over No. 4 seed Fillmore Central/Lanesboro in the championship finals on May 23 at Wabasha.

Both 1A East champion Mabel-Canton (14-6) and runner-up Wabasha-Kellogg (13-10) plus 1A West champion Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (20-0) and runner-up Blooming Prairie (10-11) advanced to the four-team Section 1A Tournament on Tuesday and Thursday (May 30) of this week at Todd Park in Austin.

As the News Leader was going to press, the Cougars were playing (weather permitting) undefeated W-E-M, which ended the regular season state-ranked No. 2. Following the two-day, double elimination section tournament, the Section 1A champion will play at the state tournament on June 6 and 7 at Mankato.

QUARTERFINAL:

M-C 14, Southland 4

The Cougars banged out 11 hits, including a triple and four doubles and took advantage of 10 walks. The game ended with the 10-run rule with only one out in the bottom of the sixth.

Hannah Snell (triple, RBI), Jordyn Newgard (double, three RBIs) and Molly Lee (double, two RBIs) each had two hits for M-C.

Eight Cougars had base hits, including Lauren Wyffels (double, RBI), Lexi Thorson (double, RBI), Emily Carolan (RBI), Payton Danielson and Maddy Michels.

Carolan, the winning pitcher, walked no one and struck out two while giving up only six hits and no earned runs (Cougar errors contributed to all four Rebel runs). The game's first batter, Southland's Larissa Goslee (2 for 3) singled and would score with the aid of an error. But, M-C scored six runs in the bottom of the inning and would lead 9-1 before the Rebels would cross home plate again.

Down 12-4 in the sixth inning, Southland loaded the bases with nobody out, but a line drive to Carolan resulted in a double play. The Rebels would not score as Carolan struck out the next batter with runners on second and third.

The season ended for winless Southland (0-20), while M-C moved on into the double-elimination portion of the playoffs.

SEMI-FINAL:

M-C 7, Goodhue 4

No. 3 seed Goodhue (8-8) came in off a 4-3 quarterfinal win over No. 6 seed Houston and out-hit M-C 7 to 6, but the difference was free passes and errors.

Carolan walked only four Wildcat batters while losing pitcher Torrie Rehder (despite striking out nine) issued nine free passes - eight walks and one hit batter. Whenever a Cougar had a base hit, there was a teammate or two already on base.

Thanks to a combined six errors (Goodhue 4, M-C 2) eight of the 11 total runs were unearned.

Each team had missed opportunities with M-C leaving 11 runners on base (twice leaving the bases loaded) and Goodhue stranding nine.

M-C never trailed, but it was close all the way. The Cougars took an early 3-0 lead with three walks, an error and an RBI-single by Michels.

The Wildcats were back within a run (3-2) when the Cougars added two runs with two RBI-singles (McCabe, Carolan), two walks and an error.

Then Goodhue closed in again at 5-4 before the Cougars added an unearned run in each of the final two innings.

Kenidi McCabe (two RBIs) and Carolan (RBI) each had two hits with one hit each from Michels (RBI) and Snell.

FINALS:

M- C 9, FC/L 2

Carolan tossed a two-hitter, and McCabe batted 3 for 3 with a two-RBI double. Thorson went 2 for 4 with two doubles while driving in three runs. The other hits came from Danielson (double, RBI) and Carolan (two RBIs).

No. 4 Fillmore Central/Lanesboro came into the championship game after eliminating No. 5 Rushford-Peterson 12-0 and then upsetting top seed Wabasha-Kellogg 5-4.

However, the Falcons fell behind quickly as the Cougars scored five runs in the first inning and led 7-0 before FC/L threatened.

In the third inning, the Falcons loaded the bases with an error and two walks with only one out. But a force-out at the plate and a rare batter interference ended the threat.

The Cougars quickly added to the Falcon frustration by adding two runs on McCabe's clutch two-out, two-RBI double to make it 9-0.

FC/L finally tallied twice with the aid of an error, a walk and an RBI-single by Kelsey Biel to make it 9-2.

The teams had been scheduled to play the final game of the regular season before impending weather intervened. FC/L would close the season with a 7-16 record after dropping into the losers' bracket and being eliminated 3-2 by Wabasha-Kellogg, which avenged a semi-final loss and earned the 1A East runner-up berth in the section tournament.