For the first time in history, Faribault Bethlehem Academy has qualified for the MSHSL State Fastpitch Softball Tournament.

It was not easy,

BA went into the Section 1A Final needing to win one game.  Hayfield had to win two games.

The Vikings won the first game 3-2 and the Cardinals flew to a 4-1 win in the second contest at Todd Park in Austin.

Bethlehem, Academy has been hitting the ball all season.  They came into the Section title gamer with a 19-1 record.  A team batting average of .383 with every player in the batting order hitting .300 or better.

Elaina Masching, sophomore, pitcher for Hayfield did a fantastic job by allowing 5 hits in the first game and pitching under pressure in a tight game.

The Vikings jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning.  It was raining when the game started.  A steady rain.

Vikings Head Coach Craig Selk started the game as I thought he might with a bunt off the bat of at athletic Jo Tempel.  The result was a 0-1 count bunt of ball resulting in an error.

Following a strikeout and a ground out cleanup hitter Reese Bauman, senior, jumped on the first pitch for a solid single to center field scoring Tempel.

In the bottom of the first Anna Cohen, sophomore, opened with a single.  Following a fly out Anna Tobin, sophomore, gained first on a fielder's choice.

Kate Trump, senior, just missed a home run to left field.  The ball hit the top of the snow fence on the fly and came back onto the field of play.  Tobin scored on the Trump triple that tied the game.

Hayfield added two runs in the second inning when 8 batters came to the plate.

Alexys Swygman, sophomore, began the inning with a single and made it to second base in my scorebook due to an error. Maggie Hansen, freshman, executed a sacrifice bunt to get Swygman into scoring position.

Tempel hit a 1-0 count infield single followed by a bunt by Taylor Dick, senior,  Kenna Selk, sophomore hammered a 0-1 count pitch to center for a two-run single.

There were 2 Cardinals  errors in the first two innings.  Probably attributable to nerves.  After all they were one win from state.

BA ended the third and fourth innngs by hitting into double plays.  6-4-3 in third,    6-3-5 in the fourth inning.

In the fifth inning a pop up started the inning.  Josie Rose, senior, clubbed a single.  Brylie Becker, freshman came in to run for Rose and was thrown out trying to steal second base.

Caitlin Bothun, freshman got on base due to an error.  Lindsay Hanson, senior, walked.  Anna Cohen hit an RBI single.

After the first two innings Morgan Wilson, sophomore pitcher for BA appeared to throw more like herself.  She delivered pitches to 14 batters in the first two innings with 2 strikeouts, 2 walks. while allowing 5 hits.

Wilson did not give a run up the rest of the way finishing with 7 strikeouts, 3 walks, 8 hits allowed with no earned runs.

The Cardinals top of the 7th started with Sarah Tobin, 8th grade, hit by pitch.  Following a strikeout Rose singled.  Hanson, senior, executed a sacrifice bunt to move the tying and winning run into scoring position with two outs.

Coach Selk elected to intentionally walk Cohen to put a force out at any base.

Reagan Kangas, senior, came to the plate with the opportunity for a walk-off hit but on a 0-1 count hit a pitch back to the pitching circle and was retired to end the inning.

Final score 3-2 Hayfield.  Vikings had 8 hits, 1 error, left 5 runners, 3 in scoring position.  Cardinals finished the game with 5 hits, 3 errors, 5 runners left, 4 in scoring position.

The second game Wilson did not walk a batter.  The Cardinals defense was spectacular, particularly by Trump at shortstop.

Wilson did not get her normal double-digit strikeouts but finished with 3 including the game ending out for the win.

Bethlehem Academy scored all their runs in the third inning when 9 batters came to the plate.

Bothun opened the inning with a first pitch single.  Hanson sacrificed her to second with a bunt.

Anna Cohen clubbed a 1-0 count pitch for an RBI single.

Reagan Kangas put down a perfect bunt for a base hit.

Anna Tobin cracked a 2-run double and Sarah Tobin had a RBI single.

In the top of the 4th inning a one out error allowed Natalie Beaver, junior, to gain the bases.  Following the second out Swygman hit an RBI single.

She would be thrown out trying to steal second base when the batter at the plate had a 3-0 count.

Line totals for the second game were 4 runs, 9 hits, 1 error, 6 runners left, 5 in scoring position for BA.

Hayfield scored 1 run on 5 hits with no errors, 4 runners left, all in scoring position.

Elaina Masching received the Cash Wise Foods and Pharmacy of Owatonna Delivery of the Game for another good performance against a Cardinals team that coming into the day was hitting .383 as a team.

Jo Tempel and Kenna Selk also received recognition for their outstanding play.

The Malecha's Auto Body of Faribault Crunch Time Faribault players of the second game were Wilson, Cohen and Anna Tobin.

Cash Wise Foods and Pharmacy of Owatonna delivery awards went to seniors Kangas and Trump.

Trump made multiple outstanding plays at shortstop.  Kangas threw out a runner in the highly competitive Section title game.

The Cardinals will be playing in their first-ever State Tournament game.

Fellow Gopher Conference member Randolph will also be at State after defeating a very good West Lutheran team 3-0 in the Section 4A title contest.

The top ranked Rockets have shut out 14 of their 23 opponents this season including Bethlehem Academy.

Randolph did not allow a run in their section.

Carter Raymond, sophomore, threw a one-hitter while her team scratched out 4 hits and took advantage of 3 West Lutheran errors

Randolph will enter the state tournament with a team batting average of   .381.

The Rockets have 57 doubles, 20 triples, 8 home runs, 245 hits in their 23 games.

They are 22-1 with the only loss to Class 3A, ST. Anthony Village.

Randolph has 78 stolen bases in 82 attempts.

Raymond has a 0.748 ERA an opponents batting average of .142.  In 131 innings Raymond has given up 67 hits, 20 runs, 14 earned, 226 strikeouts, 7 walks, 2 hit batters.

The other Section 1 State Fastpitch representatives will be:

  • Class 2A   St. Charles   10   Dover-Eyota    0
  • Class 3A   Winona   8    Byron   0
  • Class 4A   Farmington 15-0 first game and 10-2 in second over Lakeville North

Section 2 Champions

  • Class A      New Ulm Cathedral   3   Sleepy Eye St. Mary's   2
  • Class 2A   LeSueur-Henderson   8    New Ulm   7
  • Class 3A   New Prague  1  Mankato East  0    ME 1  NP  0 game two
  • Class 4A   Shakopee   2   Eden Prairie   1

State Tournament is June 8 and 9, 2023 at Caswell Park in North Mankato.  Each team plays twice Thursday and if they win a game will play Friday, if win two games play for state title.

Seedings will be Saturday.

Bethlehem Academy and Randolph will play 1:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, 2023.

If they play second day it could be 1:30 p.m. (Consolation title), 3:30 p.m. (Third Place) or state title game at 5:30 p.m.

The 20 Best Places To Live In Minnesota, According To Money Inc