Winona Reaches Softball Title Game with Epic Win over Mankato West
The Big Nine Conference was guaranteed a team in the state Class AAA championship game as Winona and Mankato West dueled into the late evening Tuesday night. The Winhawks earned the shot at the title after a wild 7-6, eight-inning win over the 'home' team Scarlets.
Winona scored the win with a bases-loaded single to end the back-and-forth contest. The 'Hawks got the lead-off batter aboard and advanced her around to third. West intentionally walked the next two batters. A single back up the middle ended the game.
Winona jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first. Mankato West, playing as the road team despite being the top seed and playing in their backyard at Caswell Park in North Mankato, tied the game at 4-4 by the third. Winona went ahead 5-4 in the fourth. West zipped ahead 6-5 in the sixth. Winona tied it in the bottom of the frame.
The 'Hawks play Becker in the title game Wednesday afternoon. A Big Nine team has won the state softball title four straight times: West (2016), Winona (2017), Faribault (2018) and Northfield (2019). West beat Winona 14-10 during the regular season.
The Class AAAA title game features Forest Lake, after two upset wins, against Rosemount. In Class AA LeSueur-Henderson meets St. Charles. The Class A title tilt is a battle of unbeatens with Randolph (26-0) against Browerville (25-0). Rockets' pitcher Morgyn Otte threw a pair of one-hitters on Tuesday.