Zumbrota-Mazeppa Softball Repeats State Championship
The Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars defeated the top seed, number one ranked team from Maple Lake 4-1 Friday to repeat as Class 2A State Champions.
Junior pitcher Lyndsey Quam scattered six hits while throwing 120 pitches, 64 for strikes. She never allowed more than one hit in an inning, struck out one batter and walked four.
On Thursday Quam threw 206 pitches. 50 over the first four innings of the 9-4 first game win over St. Agnes and 156 while going the distance against Esko in the 9-4 second game victory.
While throwing the first four innings against St. Agnes Quam did not allow a hit, struck out 7 and walked 2.
In the Esko win she fanned 13 batters and walked 9 while apparently running out of gas.
Senior Natalie Majerus was incredible at the top of the Cougars batting order going 6 for 8 at the plate Thursday with a two RBI double and two run homer in the St. Agnes game.
She added a 4 for 4 performance in the Esko game with two doubles, two singles and a RBI.
In all three games Zumbrota-Mazeppa got the lead early and never trailed.
In the St. Agnes contest after a out Quam laid down a perfect bunt for a single and ended up at second on a passed ball.
Senior Tara Matuska was walked on four pitches and senior Brianna Albers clubbed a RBI single. Matuska scored when St. Agnes threw a runner out at second.
The Cougars added four more runs in the second inning thanks to three more hits.
Sophomore Hannah Mensink led off the second getting on base by an error and was wild pitched to second base.
After a pop out sophomore Rylee Schliep was walked and that was followed by a ground out for the second out.
Majerus connected for a 2 RBI double, Quam also had an RBI double, Matuska collected an RBI single.
In the fourth inning following a fly out to start the inning designated player sophomore Megan Johnson was walked and went to second on a wild pitch.
Majerus stepped to the plate and on a 2-1 count crushed a home run over the right centerfield fence.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa scored their ninth run in the fifth inning after Albers reached base on a error and was wild pitched to third base. Mensink had a sacrifice fly RBI.
Matuska relieved Quam in the fifth inning and pitched the rest of the way with 56 total pitches, 39 for strikes, allowing all six St. Agnes hits over the three innings of work and four runs.
Following back to back singles to start the seventh inning Matuska struck out the final three batters of the game and finished with 4 strikeouts.
The Esko game started two hours and four minutes after it's scheduled start time due to a couple of long games on the field Zumbrota-Mazeppa was supposed to play the Eskomoes of Esko.
Majerus led the bottom of the first off with a double and scored on a double play following another perfectly executed Quam bunt for an infield hit.
Esko tied the game in the top of the second after Quam walked two batters sandwiched between two strike outs and the first hitter in the lineup hit an RBI single.
In the bottom of the third the Cougars seized the lead again after a Majerus single to start the inning Quam had another excellent bunt.
There was a pop out, Albers got on base on a fielder's choice when the shortstop gloved her grounder and threw Majerus out at third base for the second out.
Sophomore Natalye Quam knocked in two runs with a single.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa added two runs in the fifth inning after Matuska led the inning with a single and was sacrificed by Albers to second, Quam hit a grounder resulting in an error and another run scored.
With two outs sophomore Makayla Arendt hit an RBI double and the Cougars were up 6-1.
Esko scored a run in the top of the sixth when a run was walked in after the Eskomoes had the bases loaded following to three straight walks
In the bottom of the sixth inning Johnson led off with a walk.
Majerus hit another single. The catcher tried to pick her off and threw the ball wide of the bag putting the senior centerfielder in scoring position.
Quam was safe on an error and Majerus advanced to third base on the play.
Matuska collected a sacrifice fly RBI.
In the top of the seventh Esko had the bases loaded an nobody out following two walks to start the inning and a fieder's choice.
Esko then had a couple of interesting at bats against Quam who was struggling with her control at this point.
The number five hitter was ahead 2-0 in the count and grounded out scoring a run.
The next run scored on a wild pitch and the next batter swung at a 3-0 pitch and popped out to second base.
The game ended on a grounder back to the pitcher.
In the championship game the Cougars looked stymied at the plate early by Maple Lake junior pitcher Calli Maki.
Sophomore Rylee Schliep was the only batter in the first nine to get a hit and Maki collected four strikeouts.
With two outs Majerus had an RBI single, Quam collected a single and Matuska had a 2 RBI single to give Zumbrota-Mazeppa the only runs they would need.
The Cougars added another run in the fourth when the inning opened with a walk to Natalye Quam, Mensink doubled putting runners at second and third.
Mensink was retired in a rundown and following an Arendt walk the catcher tried to throw her out stealing second but there was nobody covering the bag and the throw went into centerfield scoring another Cougar run.
The only run for Maple Lake came in the top of the fifth inning when the number eight hitter led the inning off with a double and following an error was perched at third base.
She would score on a sacrifice fly.
Maple Lake had their chances to get back in the game or even take the lead.
In the sixth inning after two outs there was a single followed by back to back walks to load the bases and the Irish could not get a timely hit.
Maple Lake led the last inning off with a double and Quam retired the next two batters swinging at the first pitch on a grounder and a pop out.
After a full count and the seventh pitch to the cleanup hitter Quam squeezed a pop up between home and the pitcher's circle for the final out.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa had six hits, one error and left all four runners in scoring position.
Maple Lake had six hits, three errors and left nine runners on base, six in scoring position.
Quam, Majerus and Quam were named to the All-Tournament team.
I didn't understand why Matuska didn't make the All-Tournament squad, hitting .444 in the tournament with four RBI and two runs scored while playing error free shortstop and making a diving play in the hole in the Esko game that was simply awesome.
There are five seniors on this year's state title team.
Majerus, Albers, Matuska, Taylor Blakstad and Anna Haugen.
They were my Pine Island Lumber players of the championship game along with Lyndsey Quam and Natalye Quam.
In the St. Agnes game Majerus, Lyndsey Quam, Matuska and Albers were the Pine Island Lumber players of the game and in the Esko game Majerus, Lindsey and Natalye Quam were chosen.
Section one did very well in the tournament with three of the four state champions from there.
In class A Hayfield finished 4th and was within an eyelash of playing in the state title game by nearly knocking off top ranked Edgerton/Southwest Christian.
New York Mills beat Edgerton/Southwest Christian 8-4 for the Class A Championship.
Sleepy Eye St. Mary's cruised by Hayfield 15-2 in five innings after the Vikings defeated Kimball Area 13-12 in their first game and fell to the Edgerton team 10-9 in the semifinals.
Kimball Area captured the consolation championship with a 9-3 victory over Pillager.
In Class 2A in addition to Zumbrota-Mazeppa winning the title Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton got the third place individual medals with a 9-2 win over Esko and Pipestone Area is the consolation champ with a 12-0 win over Albany.
In Class 3A Winona won the championship 9-2 over Hermantown for the second straight Big Nine team to win a title.
Totino-Grace defeated defending state champion and top ranked all year Mankato West 8-1 for third place and Waconia bested Thief River Falls 4-2 for the consolation championship.
In Class 4A the Farmington Tigers are state title holders following a 1-0 classic 10 inning win over Anoka who won by the same score in 13 innings the night before against Woodbury.
Chanhassen downed Woodbury 1-0 for third place and Buffalo out scored Maple Grove 6-4 for the consolation championship.